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Peru prosecutor opens corruption probe of Castillo

February 21, 20235:32 PM EST

Peru's President Pedro Castillo arrives at the ninth Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 8, 2022. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LIMA, Feb 21 (Reuters) - An investigation of criminal allegations against former Peru President Pedro Castillo from before he was ousted and detained in December for attempting to illegally dissolve Congress has been formalized, the country's top prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

Castillo is accused of crimes including influence peddling, organized crime and being an accomplice to collusion committed during his administration.

The decision from the attorney general comes days after Congress passed a constitutional complaint, allowing the office to formally launch the investigation.

The complaint, which alleged Castillo was involved in corruption dating back to July 2021, was pending in Congress at the time he was ousted.

The attorney general's office also kicked off investigations into two of Castillo's former ministers for alleged connections to bribery in exchange for public works contracts, including a case involving state-owned oil company Petroperu (PETROBC1.LM).

Castillo has been in pre-trial detention since December as he also faces an investigation for rebellion and conspiracy for his attempt to dissolve Peru's unicameral Congress.

The former president denies all charges made against him. Castillo also requested to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that he be set free and reinstated as president, his former lawyer and minister Walter Ayala, announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

Castillo had previously requested that the IACHR intervene in December, saying his detention was a violation of his rights.

The ouster of Castillo, a former teacher and son of rural farmers, sparked a wave of violent protests that have left some 60 dead, mainly in Peru's poorer south.

Protesters have called for the resignation of Castillo's successor President Dina Boluarte, early elections, the shuttering of Congress and a new constitution.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Josie Kao and Bill Berkrot


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