Peruvian prosecutors have opened a sixth criminal investigation against President Pedro Castillo for alleged corruption involving government tenders, officials said Thursday.
The announcement came after police this week raided the presidential palace in Lima, where Castillo resides, as well as his private home in the rural north of the country in search of his sister-in-law, who visited Wednesday in a related corruption investigation. .
Castillo already faces five other criminal investigations for corruption and for allegedly plagiarizing his university thesis, and has survived two impeachment attempts since taking office in July last year.
Peru’s public prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation against Castillo and his former housing minister Geiner Alvarado “for an alleged crime…in the form of a criminal organization,” the public ministry, which oversees the prosecutor’s work, said on Twitter.
The investigation, he added, targets contracts awarded in the provinces of Chota-Cajamarca, where Castillo is from, and Cajatambo-Lima, north of the capital.
The arrests this week of Castillo’s sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, businessmen brothers Hugo and Anggi Espino, and Mayor Jose Nenil Medina of Anguia in Cajamarca, are linked to the same investigation.
The group is accused of participating in a corruption and money laundering network that prosecutors say was led by the Peruvian president.
Castillo, who is serving a five-year term that ends in 2026, cannot be tried while in office.
Last week, a team of investigators traveled to Anguia and Cajatambo to gather information on public works contracts awarded to the Espino brothers, who allegedly had ties to Castillo’s sister-in-law.
Castillo, a 52-year-old rural school teacher and trade unionist, unexpectedly seized power from Peru’s traditional political elite in elections last year.
He has come under relentless fire from right-wing political rivals seeking his impeachment, so far without success.
Opinion polls show that three-quarters of Peruvians disapprove of Castillo’s stewardship of the country, which has seen three prime ministers and seven interior ministers come and go in just over a year.
Paredes, 26, lives with Castillo and his wife, whom she considers “relatives”.
She is the fourth person in the presidential entourage to be investigated for alleged corruption.
Others include a nephew who served as an adviser, a former transport minister – both on the run from justice – and Castillo’s former presidential secretary.