* Peru due up to $50 mln from Swiss, Luxembourg accounts
* Cash linked to Fujimori-era weapons deals
By John Miller
ZURICH, March 17 Peru is moving closer to
recovering up to $50 million linked to corrupt arms deals
involving ex-president Alberto Fujimori, according to a
Swiss-based group assisting its efforts.
It said about a third of that sum could be returned in the
coming months, starting as early as April, once courts in
Switzerland and Luxembourg resolve disputes over frozen bank
Peru is trying to wrest back the funds in an ongoing
15-year-old corruption probe against Fujimori and his spy chief,
Vladimiro Montesinos, who are both in jail for corruption.
They are suspected of getting "commissions" from weapons
dealers that were secretly deposited into overseas bank
Peru has already recovered about $93 million linked to the
1990s arms deals, which included a purchase of Russian MiG-29
fighter jets, said the Basel Institute on Governance, the legal
assistance group helping Peru.
Another $17 million -- some $1.5 million from Swiss accounts
and $15.5 million from Luxembourg -- could be returned in the
next few months, while recovery of $33 million in five other
accounts in the two countries is less advanced, it said.
In one case outlined in a Swiss court ruling, the Russian
company that sold Peru the MiG-29 jets deposited $16 million
into Zurich bank accounts linked to Fujimori and Montesinos,
according to court documents.
A portion of that money, now totalling nearly $1 million
including interest, was then transferred to a separate account
controlled by the man who signed the sales contract for the
A three-judge panel of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, in
a ruling made public last week, rejected the man's last-ditch
appeal to unfreeze his account and block repatriation to Peru.
The man's name has not been released by Swiss courts. Felix
Fischer, one of his two lawyers in Zurich, declined to comment
on the case, citing attorney-client privilege.
"The decisions are important because they bring new insight
into legal practice advancing the fight against corruption and
the recovery of stolen assets," the Basel group said.
A decision on the Luxembourg accounts is due to be announced
in early April, said its managing director, Gretta Fenner.
Peru's Attorney General Pablo Sanchez Velarde did not
immediately respond to a request for comment about the transfers
or when they could take place.
The Basel organisation said this is the first time a
Peruvian confiscation order in a corruption case is being
executed in a foreign jurisdiction. "Peru is writing history
with these cases," it said.
(Reporting by John Miller in Zurich, Mitra Taj in Lima; Editing
by Mark Trevelyan)