Will Peru’s Gold King Ever Be Held Accountable?

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Peru has agreed to send accused international gold smuggler Peter Ferrari to the United States to face trial — but it’s unclear when, or even whether, he will face justice. 

In January 2018, US prosecutors charged Pedro Pérez Miranda, alias “Peter Ferrari,” with running a multi-billion-dollar money laundering operation fueled by illicit gold. At the time of his indictment, Ferrari had already been in a Peru jail for a year. He had been arrested in January 2017 on charges that he exported 13 tons of illicit gold, worth $600 million, from the country.

In July 2019, his detention in Peru was extended for six months. But Peru’s organized crime appeals court found that the extension was unwarranted on September 20 and ordered him to be released, Peru 21 reported. 

SEE ALSO: The Companies Accused of Buying Latin America’s Illegal Gold

About a week later, Peru’s Justice Ministry agreed to his extradition but said that case against him in Peru must be resolved first, according to Peru 21.

InSight Crime Analysis     

Since the 1990s, Ferrari has been linked with illegal gold mining, drug trafficking, and money laundering — but has always managed to avoid being convicted. 

First arrested in 1999 and accused of laundering drug money for Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel, Ferrari was cleared those charges in 2002.  

In 2013, some 500 kilograms of suspect gold belonging to six export companies were seized by authorities in the port city of Callao. One of the companies was Rivero Minerales, owned by Ferrari’s nephew. Ferrari’s lawyer at the time said he only financed the company, but prosecuting documents described him as a “principal financier and trader of illegal gold, which he exports using Lima-based front companies,” InSight Crime reported

In 2014, the 300 kilograms of gold belonging to Rivero Minerales was returned after a ruling by a local judge, who was later removed from his position and arrested on corruption charges.

SEE ALSO: Authorities Suspect Mass Complicity of Peru Exporters in Illegal Gold Mining

In 2015, police seized Ferrari’s beach house, valued at $1 million, and 100 kilograms of illegal gold found in a vault belonging to his cousin.  

Two years later he was arrested, along with five other people, and accused of being behind the export of 13 tons of illegal gold valued at more than $600 million. Since then he was in preventive detention until the appeals court ordered his release last month. 

Now that Peru’s Ministry of Justice approved his extradition request to United States, it would appear that Ferrari will finally face justice. But there is no telling when or even if this extradition will take place, as it can only be carried out once all judicial processes against him in Peru have been completed.  

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