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Peru's fugitive ex-spy chief taken to air base



CARACAS, Venezuela -- Peru's fugitive former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos was taken to a military air base in Venezuela's capital city to be flown to Lima, Peru, a Peruvian official said Sunday

Peruvian Interior Minister Antonio Ketin Vidal said Montesinos is expected to depart before midnight EDT. Television pictures showed Montesinos boarding a plane.

He was captured Saturday night in the Venezuela capital, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.

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Montesinos had fled from Peru after being accused of a number of crimes, including stealing state funds, taking kickbacks from illegal drugs and arms deals, running death squads, and ordering torture of opponents.

Montesinos was captured by officials from Venezuela's military intelligence at 10 p.m. Saturday in an area of the city called 23 de Enero. He was taken to a military jail.

Peruvian Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar called the capture a moral victory for Peru.

Montesinos: Life on the lam
September 14, 2000Montesinos is caught on tape allegedly bribing an opposition lawmaker
October 29, 2000Montesinos flees Peru
November 3, 2000Switzerland freezes $50 million tied to Montesinos
November 13, 2000Peruvian President Fujimori makes surprise trip to Japan
November 16, 2000Fujimore resigns
February 22, 2001Venezuela denies protecting Montesinos
April 20, 2001Peru offers $5 million for the return of Montesinos
June 23, 2001Montesinos fortune is believed to amount to $1 billion
June 24, 2001Montesinos is arrested in Venezuela; extradicted to Peru
Source: Reuters

Montesinos sparked a scandal in Peru, where he was caught on videotape apparently bribing a congressman. As a result of the incident, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was stripped of office as "morally unfit" to rule last November. The spy chief was later also said to have allegedly manipulated Peru's courts, media and military.

Peru has not had luck bringing Fujimori back from Japan, where Fujimori is in self-exile. Because Fujimori has Japanese nationality, he cannot be extradited, according to Japanese law.

"The Japanese government is giving [Fujimori] absolute cover," Ugaz said. "We suppose now Montesinos will give us a lot of new evidence that will demonstrate [to] the Japanese government that Fujimori is a common criminal."

Peru has charged Fujimori, its hard-line president from 1990 to 2000, with dereliction of duty and the attorney general has also called for him to be tried for responsibility in a 1991 massacre by an army death squad.





RELATED STORIES:
RELATED SITES:
• Presidency of Peru
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru
• Congress of the Republic of Peru

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