Peru president fires prosecutor in investigation of his wife

2015-10-21 15:20
Peru's President Ollanta Humala waves to the press while arriving with his wife, Nadine Heredia. (Rodrigo Abd, AFP)

Peru's President Ollanta Humala waves to the press while arriving with his wife, Nadine Heredia. (Rodrigo Abd, AFP)

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Lima - Peru's president on Tuesday fired the public prosecutor in charge of money-laundering investigations after she refused to remain silent on a case involving the country's first lady.

Julia Principe's dismissal was announced on Tuesday in the official el Peruano newspaper. It was signed by President Ollanta Humala and his justice minister, Gustavo Adrianzen.

An uproar over the firing being political retribution prompted Adrianzen to resign later Tuesday

Principe had been in the job for six years and won wide respect for facing down a major criminal syndicate that trafficked in stolen real estate. She oversaw more than 2 000 cases related to drug trafficking, illegal gold mining and other illicit activities.

In August, Principle turned over to prosecutors four diaries that allegedly belonging to First Lady Nadine Heredia, who has played a major role in her husband's administration.

The prosecutor in the case has ordered them examined by handwriting experts to determine whether they were penned by the first lady.

Peruvian media have speculated that various notations in the diaries refer to sums of money. Heredia denies the diaries are hers.

She is under investigation for money laundering from 2006-2011 for allegedly unsubstantiated transfers into her personal bank account.

Adrianzen later announced he would seek her dismissal for making public declarations without first seeking permission, as a 2008 law requires. The law is frequently ignored by Peru's public prosecutors, who do not directly try cases.

At no point, Principe told The Associated Press on Tuesday, did she state publicly whether she believed the diaries were authentic. "My declarations have always been general in character."

Humala's five-year term as president ends in July. His approval rating has dropped beneath 15%.

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