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Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 02:41 GMT
Russia arms link to Peru spy chief
Fujimori opponent holds a sign that reads: Thank God the rats fall
Montesinos and Fujimori are both now disgraced in Peru
Switzerland has blocked more bank accounts allegedly linked to Peru's fugitive former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, and says millions of dollars in them almost certainly came from arms deals with Russia.

A statement from the Zurich prosecutor's office said that in addition to $48 million frozen earlier this month, investigators had now traced a further $22m in five other accounts.

Montesinos
Montesinos may have profited from Kalashnikov purchases
Much of the money "very likely originates from payments of commissions connected to arms transactions between Russia and Peru," the statement said. It added that investigations were continuing into possible money-laundering.

Mr Montesinos, who is in hiding, was the top adviser to the former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori before being sacked in September in a corruption scandal.

Mr Fujimori, who denies any knowledge of the illicit funds, was fired last week by Congress for being "morally unfit" to govern.

Hunt goes on

Peru has been buying arms from Russia ever since the 1970s when a left-leaning military government was in power.

The prosecutor's statement gave no details about the account holders - or whether they were linked to Mr Montesinos - saying merely that their role in the transactions was being investigated.

Alberto Fujimori
Mr Fujimori shows no inclination to leave Japan
The Swiss authorities have requested more details from their Peruvian and Russian counterparts.

The Peruvian Government has also launched a probe into the allegations, fuelling demands for the arrest of Mr Montesinos whose whereabouts are unknown.

Mr Fujimori, currently in Japan, was accused out stonewalling investigations into his former intelligence chief.

His replacement as interim president pending fresh elections next April, Valentin Paniagua, has said he will co-operate with judicial investigations into Mr Montesinos.

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See also:

18 Nov 00 | Americas
Montesinos accused of new crimes
15 Nov 00 | Americas
Secret dungeons found in Peru
26 Oct 00 | Americas
Hunt for Peru spy chief
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