LIMA – Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra said on Friday that a fugitive former Supreme Court justice accused of leading a corruption ring has been arrested in Madrid.
Police acted on an Interpol warrant in detaining Cesar Hinostroza, Vizcarra said.
“We sent the head of Interpol Peru yesterday. The red alert was issued yesterday. And this morning Cesar Hinostroza was arrested in Madrid, Spain,” Vizcarra told the Radio Programas del Peru radio station.
“He’s currently with the Spanish National Police, with foreign relations officers and Peru’s police attache, who are handling all the procedures,” he added.
Vizcarra said in a subsequent interview with public broadcaster TV Peru that the focus now was on seeing how Hinostroza, who fled the Andean nation via its border with Ecuador on Oct. 7 and had requested asylum in Spain despite the Interpol warrant, can be brought back to his homeland to face trial.
The former Supreme Court justice had been barred from leaving Peru while an investigation was conducted into alleged acts of corruption. His escape led to the resignation of Interior Minister Mauro Medina.
The corruption probe stemmed from a scandal over the release of several audio recordings (made by police during a drug-trafficking investigation focused on Callao, Peru’s leading seaport) showing influence-peddling and other misconduct by judges.
The audio recordings implicated Hinostroza, Callao Superior Court Judge Walter Rios, and three councilmembers of the CNM (National Judiciary Council), the institution tasked with appointing and removing judges and prosecutors.
One of the recordings reveals negotiations being carried out to promote judges and prosecutors in exchange for bribes, as well as to reduce sentences and even absolve a man who raped an 11-year-old girl.
The scandal, which led to the resignation of Peruvian Supreme Court Chief Justice Duberli Rodriguez, the dismissal of Justice Minister Salvador Heresi and the sacking of Hinostroza, all members of the CNM and most of the judges on Callao’s Superior Court, including the now-jailed Rios, prompted Vizcarra to announce an overhaul of Peru’s judiciary.