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Peru’s Congress formalizes criminal charges against former president Martín Vizcarra

Peru’s Congress on Tuesday formalized an indictment approved last week against former President Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) for the alleged commission of four corruption crimes, including the alleged irregular hiring of a singer during his administration.

The decision, approved Thursday by the plenary of the legislature, was published in the Bulletin of Legal Norms of the newspaper El Peruano, making it ready for the formation of a criminal case for the crimes of aggravated influence peddling, fraudulent embezzlement, incompatible negotiations and obstruction of justice.

Congress approved the resolution accusing Vizcarra of these crimes in the so-called “Swing Case,” for which the Parlament had previously tried to impeach him while he was head of state.

Richard “Swing” Cisneros is a singer allegedly illegally hired by Vizcarra in 2020 to provide consulting services to the Ministry of Culture without being qualified.

Before the vote Thursday, the president of Congress, Alejandro Soto, informed that the former president presented his written resignation on March 6 and announced that he would waive the prerogative of impeachment and his right to attend the session.

During the presentation of the report, the president of the Subcommission of Constitutional Accusations, Lady Camones, pointed out that Vizcarra knew Cisneros.

According to the accusation, the singer “did not meet the minimum requirements to provide his services and to be entrusted with the custody of a state property.”

Cisneros’ defense

In July 2021, the Standing Committee of Congress approved the constitutional complaint filed against the former president by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The document had been filed a month earlier, following the revelation of Richard Swing’s hiring.

Cisneros confirmed on Channel N televisio on Monday that he met Vizcarra during the 2016 campaign but said he wasn’t his friend.

He also pointed out that some of the audios presented when the case was denounced were manipulated and directly accused the former Comptroller General and former Congressman Edgar Alarcón, whom he confirmed meeting with.

“I met with him and he told me: ‘The problem is not with you, son, we want you to destroy Vizcarra, we want to bring Vizcarra down. We have dominated the Prosecutor’s Office and the Comptroller’s Office, and nothing will happen against you,” he said the ex-legislator told him.

The singer also defended his hiring for a position in the Ministry of Culture by arguing that he had won medals as an athlete, which gave him the experience to work in cultural or sports management of any state agency.

Cisneros finally considered Vizcarra innocent of the accusation, yet assured that “he does not owe him anything” and that the Public Prosecutor’s Office “is doing the right thing” by investigating the case.

Source: La Prensa