Peruvian President's Brother and Lawyer Arrested Amid MountingCorruption Allegations

Peruvian authorities arrested President Dina Boluarte's brother, Nicanor Boluarte, and her lawyer, Mateo Castañeda, on accusations of influence peddling and belonging to a criminal organization. The arrests are part of a widening corruption inquiry, including the "Rolexgate" scandal, where Boluarte is accused of accepting three Rolex watches in exchange for favors.

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Peruvian President's Brother and Lawyer Arrested Amid MountingCorruption Allegations

Peruvian President's Brother and Lawyer Arrested Amid MountingCorruption Allegations

In a significant development, Peruvian authorities have arrested President Dina Boluarte's brother, Nicanor Boluarte, and her lawyer, Mateo Castañeda, on accusations of influence peddling and belonging to a criminal organization. The arrests, which took place on Friday, are part of a widening corruption inquiry that includes an investigation into the "Rolexgate" scandal, where Boluarte is accused of accepting three Rolex watches worth at least £400,000 ($500,000) in exchange for favors.

Why this matters: The corruption allegations against President Boluarte and her inner circle have far-reaching implications for the stability of Peru's government and the region as a whole. If proven, these allegations could lead to a further erosion of trust in institutions and potentially destabilize the country's political landscape.

Nicanor Boluarte, 64, faces charges of conspiracy and influence peddling for allegedly appointing prefects (local officials) in exchange for money and gathering signatures to register the Citizens for Peru party. Mateo Castañeda is accused of interfering with the investigation into Nicanor Boluarte by offering benefits to members of a disbanded police unit that had been assisting prosecutors in investigating the president's inner circle.

President Boluarte has denied the accusations, claiming the watches were loaned to her by the governor of the Andean region of Ayacucho, Wilfredo Oscorima, whom she referred to as her "wayki" (brother in Quechua). At a public event on Friday, Boluarte stated, "We will not be distracted by minor matters, we believe in justice, we believe in the reasonableness of those who administer justice in the country, and in that regard the government will continue to bet on democracy and to respect the constitution."

Prosecutors are investigating Nicanor Boluarte for allegedly using his de facto power to build a new political party and solicit bribes from officials holding regional government posts. The investigation, dubbed "Los waykis en la sombra" (the brothers in the shadow), comes weeks after a similar raid on President Boluarte's home and amid mounting pressure over corruption allegations.

Boluarte's government has been accused of retaliating against officials involved in the investigation, including the suspension of Harvey Colchado, the head of the elite police investigations unit, Diviac. The arrests also come amid widespread protests over the ousting of Boluarte's predecessor, Pedro Castillo, in December 2022, which resulted in the deaths of 49 people by security forces. Boluarte faces a separate investigation over her role in those deaths.

The corruption allegations have further eroded Boluarte's popularity, with a poll compiled by the Americas Society in January ranking her as Latin America's least popular leader, with a 9% approval rating. As the investigation continues, the arrests of Nicanor Boluarte and Mateo Castañeda mark a significant step in the ongoing corruption probe that threatens to engulf the Peruvian president and her inner circle.