Fujimori pleads guilty to bribery

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ex-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, has pleaded guilty to bribery and illegal phone-tapping of journalists, businessmen and opposition politicians.

Fujimori, who is already serving prison sentences for crimes including ordering killings by security forces, was in court for a fourth and final trial.

The charges relate to a scandal which brought down his government in 2000. He is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.

His lawyers said the case was intended to damage his daughter's election bid.

Polls suggest Keiko Fujimori is among the leading candidates in presidential elections due in 2011.

She has said she would pardon her father if elected.

'Judicial persecution'

Fujimori, who led Peru from 1990 to 2000, returned from exile in late 2007 to face a number of charges.

In April this year, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail for ordering killings and kidnappings by the security forces.

He was sentenced to a further seven-and-a-half years for embezzlement in July after being convicted by Peru's Supreme Court of giving $15m (£9.3m) in state funds to his spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos.

He was already serving a six-year term after being found guilty in 2007 on separate charges of abuse of power.

In the latest case, Fujimori admitted to charges that through Montesinos he bugged and bribed opposition politicians, journalists and businessmen.

A judge at the supreme court in Lima ruled that no further action was needed before a sentencing hearing to be held on Wednesday.

The prosecution has asked for an eight-year jail sentence for Fujimori and a fine of $1.6m to be awarded to the state, with a further $1m for about 10 people affected by the phone-tapping.

Before his guilty plea, Fujimori's defence lawyers said the case amounted to the political and judicial persecution of the former president, which they say is intended to weaken his daughter's election prospects.

A series of videos leaked in 2000, showing Montesinos handing over piles of cash to prominent opposition leaders and media figures, prompted him and Fujimori to flee the country.

Montesinos is currently in jail, convicted on dozens of charges including drug-trafficking and selling guns to Colombian rebels.