Peru’s attorney general has been fired for misconduct in several high-profile organized crime cases. Most prominently, he has been accused of obstructing investigations into a massive corruption scandal, and has admitted to meeting the man at the center of billion-dollar money laundering network.
Carlos Ramos Heredia, Peru’s former attorney general, was fired by the country’s judicial oversight authority, known as the CNM, on May 13. During a press conference, the CNM’s secretary general said that Ramos — who was suspended in December — was found responsible for misconduct in three proceedings, reported BBC.
— CNM – Perú (@CNMPeru) May 13, 2015
[The CNM agreed to remove Attorney General Carlos Ramos Heredia]
Ramos denied the allegations, telling a local radio station he was the victim of a “conspiracy,” the BBC reported. The CNM opened several inquiries into Ramos’s alleged acts of impropriety, some of which occurred before he became attorney general, but only found sufficient evidence of misconduct in three cases, according to El Comercio.
Some of the accusations facing Heredia include:
1- Blocking investigations into Peru’s “Al Capone”
Former governor of Ancash state, Cesar Alvarez
Peru’s judicial oversight authority found that Ramos improperly sanctioned an anti-corruption prosecutor responsible for investigating Cesar Alvarez, once the governor of Peru’s northwestern Ancash state.
Some in Ancash have compared the ex-governor to US gangster Al Capone. Alvarez is currently under investigation for allegedly doling out over $1 million in bribes and ordering the assassination of rival politicians. A congressional commission has implicated over 400 people in Alvarez’s alleged criminal network, including several congressmen and a former Supreme Court judge.
2- Going after four anti-corruption prosecutors who raided Alvarez’s campaign office
Ramos, who was the head of an internal auditing office at the time, brought criminal charges against four prosecutors who reportedly searched one of Alvarez’s campaign offices on an invalid warrant in 2011, according to El Comercio. However, a judge later ruled the warrant was valid, and the Attorney General’s Office dismissed the charges against the prosecutors in January.
3- Blocking the investigation into another one of Alvarez’s alleged allies
Ramos allegedly delayed over 20 compaints filed against Dante Farro, a former prosecutor and supected Alvarez associate, reported La Republica.
4- Connections to the a massive money laundering network
While the CNM did not find Ramos guilty of misconduct for his alleged ties to Rodolfo Orellana, a prolific money launderer who was captured last November in Colombia and deported to Peru, Ramos did admit to meeting with Orellana at his office. And Ramos’s son, Cesar Ramos Torero, allegedly collected bribes of $10,000 to $30,000 from Orellana in exchange for favors from the attorney general, according to El Comercio.
InSight Crime Analysis
Heredia is just the latest high-ranking official to get sucked into the scandals involving Rodolfo Orellana and Cesar Alvarez. Just a day after Ramos was fired, on May 14, Congressman Heriberto Benitez was suspended for 120 days for allegedly hampering the search of Alvarez’s campaign office and for reportedly having ties to the Orellana network as well. A week earlier, police arrested a former Supreme Court judge for his alleged role in Orellana’s billion-dollar network.
SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles
Notably, Ramos’s firing does not mean that he will face criminal charges, although prosecutors have signaled that might be a possibility. Still, the fact that such high-level officials are being removed from positions of power is a positive step forward. While cases like these inevitably harm the reputation of Peru’s judicial institutions, they are still indicative that Peru’s government has not been totally co-opted by corrupt special interests.