Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, who was forced out of office last November following a complicated case of fraud, has invested tens of millions of dollars originating from criminal transactions in Israeli banks.
The former president's Chief of Security Vladimiro Montesinos is also suspected by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation of being involved in these deposits. The FBI is currently investigating the case. It is suspected that some of this money found its way to Israel.
The Banks Supervisor of the
is supposed to monitor money transfers from dubious sources. The central bank stated that it is unable to provide information on the case.
While acting as the Fujimori administration's chief of security Vladimiro Montesinos is suspected to have illegally accumulated some $100 million, which he then deposited at foreign banks,
The Wall Street Journal
Montesinos himself has vanished last October following the discovery of a videotape documenting him in the process of what appears to be bribing a member of congress. In the wake of this affair, Fujimori was forced to resign and leave Peru. He now resides in Japan.
The investigation into the Montesinos affair and its business links to Fujimori is in full swing and is being conducted by both the Peruvian authorities and the FBI.
Over 200 senior Peruvian officials may be questioned
Last weekend, a special investigator in Peru reported that over 200 senior Peruvian officials may be questioned about the affair, including businessmen, military people, government officials, ministers, judges and mayors.
Montesinos is suspected to have accumulated the money through drug trafficking, arms dealing, protection racketeering and other criminal activities. Among other things, the investigation will focus on whether former president Fujimori was involved in illegal money transfers in Peru. Fujimori has so far not been indicted anywhere.
Some of the money accumulated by Montesinos has found its way to Swiss banks. Authorities in Peru and Switzerland are now looking into the source of some $70 million deposited in Switzerland last year, which are suspected to have been paid as commission for arm deals, including acquisition of MIG and Sokhoy jet fighters from the Ukraine, from Belarus and from Bulgaria.
It is suspected that the planes were faulty, but that a full price has been paid for them, with the discrepancy winding up in the pockets of Montesinos and other arm dealers. The Swiss authorities have frozen money deposited in Switzerland until the investigation is completed.
Unlike western countries, Switzerland included, the Israeli banking system did not customarily to report to various authorities on the money deposited in its banks or transferred through it, even in cases when it was suspected that the money came from dubious sources.
For this reason, Israel was included in a blacklist of 12 countries whose laws facilitate money laundering.
In the past, punitive measures were suggested for these countries. In recent months, the Israeli government has acted towards legislation that will force the banks to report transfers of suspicious money, in order for the international community to withdraw Israel's name from the blacklist.