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Peru's ex-attorney general arrested

LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Peru's former attorney general was arrested Wednesday on charges of illicit enrichment, lying and covering up investigations, including a probe of jailed ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos.

Blanca Nelida Colan, who was the attorney general for ousted President Alberto Fujimori, was taken into custody without incident on four counts of fraud and corruption, police said.

Colan was one of two former government officials arrested Wednesday in a widening probe of Fujimori's administration.

Jose Portillo, who headed the country's national election office, was arrested on charges of forging 1 million voter signatures that helped Fujimori win re-election in 2000.

Colan headed the most important corruption scandals for the Fujimori administration. In several of the most high-profile cases, she found no wrongdoing -- and in the case of Montesinos, she acquitted him.

Montesinos sparked a scandal in the South American nation after he was caught on videotape bribing a congressman. He was later accused of manipulating Peru's courts, news media and military. In addition, the former president is accused of stealing state funds, taking kickbacks from illegal drugs and arms deals, directing death squads and ordering the torture of opponents.

Fujimori was stripped of office as "morally unfit" to rule last November as a result of the swirling controversy.

He then fled to Japan, where he has since gained citizenship. Fujimori has denied any wrongdoing, and Japan has refused to extradite him.

The former president faces charges of dereliction of duty, abandonment of office and possible corruption. Peruvian authorities also are investigating his possible ties to a paramilitary death squad.

Montesinos, who fled the nation in October 2000, was captured last month in Venezuela after the FBI pinpointed his whereabouts. He has since been deported to Peru and remains in prison there.

Prosecutors have said Montesinos is cooperating with authorities in trying to build their case against Fujimori.






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