World News 30 Mart 2024

Peruvian president's home raided by government agents over Rolex watches

Peruvian president's home raided by government agents over Rolex watches

The home of Peru’s president has been broken into by government agents investigating her over luxury watches.

TV footage showed the team using a sledgehammer to carry out the raid at Dina Boluarte’s residence in the capital Lima.

She is being investigated for having an undisclosed collection of luxury watches since she came to power in July 2021 as vice president, and then as president in December 2022.

Peruvian president's home raided by government agents over Rolex watches
Image:
Police stand guard outside President Dina Boluarte’s house during the raid. Pic: AP

Ms Boluarte initially claimed ownership of at least one Rolex as a long-held possession acquired through “personal gains” since she was 18, urging the media not to look into personal matters.

But attorney general Juan Villena said the president had an obligation to swiftly produce three Rolex watches for investigation, cautioning against their disposal or destruction.

He has criticised Ms Boluarte after she asked to delay her appearance before a court for two weeks.

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Ms Boluarte has been accused of contradicting her earlier pledge to speak truthfully to prosecutors, exacerbating a new political crisis stemming from her unexplained ownership of Rolexes.

Peru has been rife with political turmoil in recent times, reaching a peak in December 2022 when left-wing lawyer Ms Boluarte was sworn in.

Peruvian president's home raided by government agents over Rolex watches
Image:
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte at a news conference in December. Pic: AP

Her predecessor Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first president of rural roots, was ousted and arrested the same day following his widely-condemned attempt to dissolve Congress to avoid an impeachment trial.

Thousands then descended on Peru’s capital and clashed with police in violent protests as they demanded Ms Boluarte leave office, leading to 55 people being killed.

Peruvian president's home raided by government agents over Rolex watches
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The protests highlighted the deep divisions between the country’s urban elite, largely living in Lima, and the mostly indigenous south.

Over a year on, critics accuse Ms Boluarte’s government of becoming increasingly authoritarian as it staves off demands for early elections and works on laws which allegedly could undermine the independence of Peru’s judicial system.

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