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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 15:40 GMT
Long haul for Peru corruption inquiry
Former Peruvian spy-chief Vladimiro Montesinos
Montesinos (left): Still trying to use his influence
The outgoing Peruvian state attorney, who has been overseeing the investigation into corruption under disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori, says he expects the inquiry will last more than five years.

The official, Jose Ugaz, is to present a report on his findings later on Thursday, when he hands over to his successor, Luis Vargas Valdivia.

People are seeing the end of a decade of immunity, today there are high-level officials in jail, which is unprecedented in Peru and the world

Jose Ugaz
Mr Ugaz told Reuters news agency that he believed Mr Fujimori's former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was still trying to use his influence despite being in jail.

A videotape of Mr Montesinos showing him giving a $15,000 bribe to a newly-elected congressman brought down the Fujimori administration in 2000.

Since then, a vast corruption network involving scores of Peruvian officials has been uncovered.

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

Mr Fujimori took refuge in Japan, which has refused to extradite him.

Volume of evidence

Mr Ugaz was appointed in 2000 by Mr Fujimori - then still in power - to investigate Mr Montesinos.

Demonstration in Lima street
Fujimori has resisted efforts to bring him back to Peru
The state attorney said so far that 130 people had been put in jail, $65m repatriated and $30m worth of goods seized or frozen in connection with the scandal.

A total of 1,400 people have been under investigation.

But the sheer volume of evidence that has appeared since the videotape of Mr Montesinos was released has revealed a huge web of corruption and human rights abuses.

Mr Ugaz said that the only institutions unaffected were the Roman Catholic Church and the ombudsman┐s office.

"People are seeing the end of a decade of immunity," he said. "Today there are high-level ... officials in jail, which is unprecedented in Peru and the world," he said.

He added that there were government ministers with corruption links, but that they were not a threat.

"I don't believe they can impede our investigation, although we know that Montesinos, through his emissaries, is making threats," he said.

See also:

08 Jan 02 | Americas
US reveals ties with Montesinos
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
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