Expatica news

Jailed spy chief sues Garzon for EUR 15m ‘libel’

26 April 2005

LIMA — Jailed former Peruvian spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos is seeking EUR 15 million in damages in his lawsuit against Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon.

Montesinos filed suit earlier this year for libel against the Spanish judge.

Valdivia told the EFE news agency that the lawsuit “was not motivated by money” since any proceeds from a legal victory would be donated to charities in Peru and Ecuador that “work for peace and development”.

On 14 February, the former spy chief known as the ‘Rasputin’ of Peru, who was jailed in Peru for crimes ranging from murder to extortion to arms smuggling, filed suit against Garzon.

He alleges some of the statements in the judge’s book, ‘Un mundo sin miedo’ (A World Without Fear), were libellous.

Montesinos, considered the main power-broker in the 1990-2000 government of Alberto Fujimori and the mastermind of a broad network of corruption and intimidation, took issue with the parts of the judge’s book dealing with the peace Peru and Ecuador signed in 1998, an achievement of Fujimori’s government that had so far remained untainted with scandal.

Garzon’s book states that in 1998, Montesinos paid-off then-Ecuadorian president Abdala Bucaram and a group of Ecuadorian legislators to make sure the treaty was signed.

Fujimori — who fled to his ancestral Japan after quitting amid burgeoning corruption scandals in late 2000 — boasts of the treaty as one of his administration’s best achievements.

Montesinos accuses Garzon of “jeopardising continental equilibrium” and attributing to him — Montesinos — “actions, statements, qualities and expressions” that damage his “honour and reputation”, relying as they do on “imaginary reports”.

Since 28 June, 2001, the former chief of Peru’s National Intelligence Service has been behind bars at Callao naval base on charges of human rights violations, illegal enrichment, drug trafficking, bribery, arms trafficking and wire tapping, among others.

Montesinos claims Garzon, known for his crusade against corruption and on behalf of human rights, is acting “maliciously” and that his book shows “hatred” for members of Latin America’s armed forces.

Garzon gained worldwide renown for issuing the warrant that produced the detention in Britain in 1998 of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet on human rights charges.

After 17 months of house arrest outside London, Britain released the elderly retired general on health grounds.

The Peruvian courts concluded that Montesinos amassed a personal fortune of at least EUR 57m, though authorities have discovered EUR 230m more in foreign bank accounts in accomplices’ names.

Sources told EFE that the $20 million figure was chosen “in symbolic fashion” because it was the sum that Garzon claims in his book that Montesinos paid to Ecuadorian lawmakers.

On 15 April, Lima judge Luis Sanchez Gonzales ruled that Montesinos’s lawsuit against Garzon could go ahead.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news