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Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 11:13 GMT
Fujimori agrees to questioning
Alberto Fujimori
Mr Fujimori is accused of hiding money during his 10-year rule
Peru's exiled former President, Alberto Fujimori, says he is prepared to meet government investigators probing corruption scandals of his 10 years in power.

Mr Fujimori - who has been accused of hiding millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts - appeared on television in Japan, where he has lived since leaving Peru in disgrace last year.

I have been waiting for the investigators. It is strange that they haven't come to Japan

Alberto Fujimori
He again denied any involvement in the corruption scandal involving his top adviser, the former Peruvian intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Mr Fujimori said he was prepared to co-operate with the congressional inquiry but would not return to Peru until his name had been cleared.

Arms deals

He added that he would wait until the outcome of presidential elections scheduled for April and assurances of his safety before considering returning.

Peruvians celebrating
Many Peruvians celebrated when Mr Fujimori resigned
Mr Fujimori fled to Japan in November, after the corruption scandal threatened to bring down his government.

He was subsequently declared unfit to rule by the Peruvian Congress and resigned.

The former president has not been officially charged with corruption, but government investigators say his spy chief amassed a huge fortune by skimming profits off secret state arms contracts.

Montesinos defence

Mr Montesinos has been linked to some $70m in Swiss bank accounts.

While investigators acknowledge they do not have any evidence linking Mr Fujimori to these secret accounts, they say the former president is responsible for his former adviser's actions.

A congressional commission investigating Mr Montesinos has demanded that Mr Fujimori testify over the arms deals.

Mr Montesinos has disappeared and is believed to have left Peru in October.

Montesinos - Fujimori depended on him for 10 years
Mr Fujimori defended the role Mr Montesinos played in his government in stamping out drug trafficking and in fighting terrorism on a Sunday morning talk show broadcast on Japan's TV Asahi.

"He was a useful person who played an important role. But he had two faces," the former president said.

The programme will be broadcast in the US and Peru.

Japan has declared Mr Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants to Peru, a Japanese national.

This status enables him to stay in Japan indefinitely and would mean an attempt to extradite him would likely fail.

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See also:

28 Dec 00 | Americas
Peru hunts fugitive via internet
24 Dec 00 | Americas
Peru arrests ex-spy chief's lawyer
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Missing spy chief 'has fled Peru'
12 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fujimori secures Japanese haven
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