Police raided the house of the President of Peru

It is the first time in Peru’s history that the police and prosecutors forcibly entered the home of a sitting president.

Peruvian authorities raided the residence of President Dina Boluarte and the presidential headquarters on Saturday as part of an investigation into alleged illicit enrichment, stemming from the use of Rolex watches that she purportedly did not declare as part of her assets.

In the early hours, the police, alongside prosecutors, entered Boluarte’s house in Lima and subsequently searched the government palace, in search of high-end watches whose origin was not specified.

“We are going to carry out the search in the palace, to conduct the raid according to the judicial order,” said Colonel Harvey Colchado to the press before entering the official headquarters. He refrained from confirming whether the jewels were found in the first raid, citing the “confidential” nature of the investigation.

According to a police document, about 40 agents and prosecutors were involved in the operation. The intrusion into the residence “aims for registration and seizure,” said the authorities. The intervention was authorized by the Supreme Court of Preparatory Investigation, presided over by Judge Juan Carlos Checkley, at the request of the Attorney General.

Since March 18, the Peruvian president has been under investigation for alleged crimes of illicit enrichment and failure to disclose statements in public documents. It was in this context that agents surrounded Boluarte’s residence, located in the Surquillo district, east of Lima, and formed a human barrier to prevent traffic on the streets.

The raid took place after the prosecutor’s office refused the president’s request to reschedule a scheduled fiscal citation earlier in the week to show the watches and their purchase receipts.

If accused in this case, the president cannot be tried until July 2026 when her term ends, as stipulated by the Constitution. However, the scandal could lead to a motion of vacancy (removal) of Boluarte from Congress alleging “moral incapacity”.

For this to happen, the right-wing blocs that control the unicameral parliament and are the main support of the president must support the left-wing minorities in a difficult-to-achieve alliance.

According to the press, the president was not at her residence and it is unknown if she was in her office at the Government Palace.

The scandal erupted from a report by the journalistic program “La Encerrona” in mid-March. It was revealed that Boluarte had used several Rolex luxury watches in official activities since assuming the vice presidency of former President Pedro Castillo’s government and as Minister of Development and Social Inclusion in 2021.

The period analyzed by the program extends until December 2022, the month she assumed the presidency. After the report, Boluarte stated that it is an “old” watch and the result of her “effort”, as she has been working since she was 18.

“I entered the Government Palace with clean hands and I will leave with clean hands, as I promised the Peruvian people,” declared Boluarte, 61, last week.

Following the scandal, the Comptroller General of the Republic announced that it would review Boluarte’s asset declarations for the past two years to look for any potential asset imbalance.

Peru’s Prime Minister, Gustavo Adrianzén, considered the raid on President Dina Boluarte’s residence and government headquarters as a “violation of dignity” concerning an investigation into assets that the president allegedly did not declare. “What has happened constitutes an intolerable violation of the dignity of the Presidency of the Republic and the Nation it represents. These actions are disproportionate and unconstitutional,” Adrianzén told RPP radio and television.

It is the first time in Peru’s history that the police and prosecutors forcibly entered the home of a sitting president, in a country accustomed to the judiciary ordering searches at the homes of former presidents or issuing pretrial detention for former officials investigated for alleged corruption.

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