Peru presidential candidate to question alleged money laundering probe

Reuters News
Posted: May 16, 2016 1:47 PM

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori will ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration about a local report that the agency is investigating a senior figure in her party over money laundering, she said on Monday.

A report broadcast on America Television on Sunday night featured comments from a man identified as a DEA informant who said the agency was investigating audio he recorded in 2013.

In the audio, he said, the secretary general of Fujimori's Fuerza Popular party, Joaquin Ramirez, stated he had laundered $15 million for the presidential candidate during previous political campaigns.

Ramirez and Fujimori have both denied the allegations.

"I categorically reject having handled or handed over money to ... Ramirez," Fujimori told local TV in Cusco, where she was campaigning ahead of the June 5 vote.

"Of course we will formally ask the DEA's opinion, if there really is such an investigation," she said, adding that the request would be presented to the U.S. embassy within hours.

The allegations threaten to damage Fujimori's campaign. Most recent polls indicate that the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori and her rival, centrist technocrat Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, are running neck and neck.

Although Fujimori easily won the first round of the election in April, she faces stiff opposition from Peruvians who say she is too closely associated with her father.

Alberto Fujimori is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 government.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)