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The BBC's Claire Marshall
"Mr Montesinos now faces a range of charges"
 real 56k

Latin American Analyist, John Crabtree
"The pressure for Fujimori's extradition to Peru increases as a result of Montesino's capture"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
How Montesinos was betrayed
Vladimiro Montesinos at Lima airport
Montesinos (centre) after his return to Peru
Peru's former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos was betrayed by a man he had apparently sent to Miami to withdraw money from a $38m bank account, according to US and Peruvian authorities.

Mr Montesinos' envoy, a former Venezuelan intelligence agent, turned up in May at the Miami branch of the Cayman Islands-registered Pacific Industrial Bank.

He told bank officials that unless they released the money from the frozen account, Mr Montesinos would go public with what he claimed to know about the bank's involvement in money laundering.

But instead of backing down, the bank tipped off the FBI, which began to monitor negotiations between the Venezuelan and bank officials.

Last Thursday, when the Venezuelan and two others entered the bank, they were arrested and told they faced prosecution for trying to extort the bank.

At that point the envoy seems to have buckled.

Plea bargain

Anxious to arrange a plea bargain, he offered to set up Mr Montesinos' capture.

Anti-Montesinos demonstrators in Lima
Peruvians demand the truth from Montesinos
He also told officials the names of the people who were protecting Mr Montesinos, moving him between hideouts in Caracas.

Peruvian and Venezuelan security forces moved to arrest Mr Montesinos on Saturday.

Competing claims

Venezuela, Peru and the US have all tried to play up their own intelligence services' role in the arrest.

Peru's Foreign Minister, Javier Perez de Cuellar, said the operation was possible thanks to the FBI and Peru's police.

Notably, he did not thank Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his country's support. This fuelled suspicions that Peru's government considers Venezuela was at best neutral, at worst opposed to Mr Montesinos' capture.

Analysts point out that in 1992, while head of Peru's intelligence service, Mr Montesinos helped arrange asylum for 93 Venezuelan military officers - associates of Mr Chavez - following an attempted coup.

Peru's Interior Minister, Antonio Ketin Vidal, said Mr Montesinos was found being protected by five or six security guards, apparently Venezuelan nationals.

Mr Vidal's Venezuelan counterpart, Luis Miquilena, said an investigation was under way to see if corrupt Venezuelan police had been looking after Mr Montesinos.

Mr Vidal said a $5m reward the government offered for Mr Montesinos' arrest has not been paid, "for the moment".

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See also:

26 Oct 00 | Americas
Hunt for Peru spy chief
26 Jun 01 | Americas
Peru spy chief's return hailed
27 Jan 01 | Americas
Peru shocked by 'Vladi video' theft
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Missing spy chief 'has fled Peru'
25 Jun 01 | Americas
Montesinos timeline
25 Jun 01 | Media reports
Peruvian press hail 'stupendous' arrest
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