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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 01:12 GMT
US reveals ties with Montesinos
Former Peruvian spy-chief Vladimiro Montesinos
Montesinos: Said to be a valued ally
Documents just released by the United States State Department have revealed Washington's difficult relationship with the disgraced former head of Peruvian intelligence, Vladimiro Montesinos.


The question of whether our relationship with Montesinos will become a liability looms before us

US State Department document
Around 38 documents, covering Alberto Fujimori's 1990-2000 presidency, were declassified by the US embassy in Lima at the request of a Peruvian congressional committee investigating Mr Montesinos.

Many refer to Mr Fujimori's anti-drugs campaign, in which Mr Montesinos played a key role and which Washington praised as a model of success at the time.

One 1996 cabled message described Mr Montesinos as "a valued ally in the drug fight, but no choirboy".

"The question of whether our relationship with Montesinos will become a liability looms before us," it said.

Alberto Fujimori
Mr Fujimori is in exile in Japan
Anel Townsend, the head of the commission investigating Mr Montesinos, said the documents also appeared to confirm the belief that he was the man behind the president's power.

Mr Montesinos is being held in a naval base prison he designed himself. He faces charges ranging from money-laundering to organising death squads and could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted.

'Bribe'

Scandal engulfed the presidency after a video was released in September 2000 showing Mr Montesinos apparently offering a $15,000 bribe to one of the newly-elected congressmen.

Mr Montesinos says he acted on Mr Fujimori's orders, though the former president denies the charge.

The former spy chief fled Peru, and shortly afterwards President Fujimori took refuge in Japan, which has refused to extradite him.

Mr Montesinos was discovered hiding in Venezuela, and returned to Peru at the end of June.

See also:

29 Dec 01 | Americas
Peru spy chief boasts of bribery
26 Jun 01 | Americas
How Montesinos was betrayed
27 Jun 01 | Americas
Montesinos 'knows of 30,000 videos'
27 Jan 01 | Americas
Peru shocked by 'Vladi video' theft
25 Jun 01 | Americas
Montesinos timeline
22 Jul 01 | Americas
Peru's ex-spy chief blames Fujimori
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