Global News

This article first appeared on Excelsior on November 24, 2021.

Some 20 thousand dollars were found in one of the bathrooms of the Peruvian presidential palace, a restroom that belonged to the now-former secretary of President Pedro Castillo.

According to information from the Peruvian government, the money was found in the restroom after an inspection.

The diligence in the presidential palace took place on Friday hours after Bruno Pacheco resigned from his post in the middle of a growing scandal that has even provoked a request for presidential impeachment by opposition legislators.

The Associated Press on Wednesday corroborated the veracity of the minutes of the finding. Anti-corruption prosecutors wrote that Pacheco indicated that the money found was “product of his savings and salary” as secretary-general of the presidency.

This is the first time since Castillo came to power on July 28 that his immediate entourage has been hit hard by a corruption scandal in a country that has seen nearly all of its presidents over the past 35 years convicted or investigated for the crime.

The prosecutor’s office is investigating Pacheco for a case of alleged corruption by “influence peddling”.

The investigation of the now ex-secretary, who used to frequently accompany the president in his official activities, began after a local media published a report accusing him of asking the head of the tax agency to help a debtor company.

He had previously been accused by the former head of the army, who said that Pacheco pressured him to promote to the rank of general a couple of officers who did not have sufficient merit. In the end, the recommended officers were not promoted.

The money found in the bathroom the ex-secretary used could add more investigations against him, including for illicit enrichment and money laundering, according to experts.

President Castillo has not commented on the scandal, but during the morning, as usual on Wednesdays, he met with his ministers at the presidential palace.

Meanwhile, the opposition was still trying to gather 26 votes among the legislators to present a request for a presidential vacancy for “moral incapacity”. But the road to impeachment is long. Another 52 votes would be needed for it to be admitted in the parliamentary debate and then 87 votes to be approved.