Government agents raid Peruvian President Boluarte’s home in luxury watch investigation

Peruvian police busted through the front door of President Dina Boluarte’s house with a battering ram overnight in search of luxury watches as part of an investigation into possible illicit enrichment.

Police had waited in vain for several minutes for someone to open the door late on Friday, as dozens of armed officers carrying ballistic shields and batons looked on. After their raid around midnight, officers went to the presidential palace where, this time, they were admitted without resorting to force.

The country is accustomed to seeing searches in the homes of former presidents, but this marked the first time in Peru’s history that police forcibly entered the home of a sitting president. Raids on the presidential palace had happened before.
Peru’s President Dina Boluarte. Photo: AFP

Boluarte is being preliminarily investigated for allegedly acquiring an undisclosed collection of luxury watches since becoming vice-president and social inclusion minister in July 2021, and then president in December 2022.

Boluarte’s lawyer, Mateo Castañeda, told radio station RPP on Saturday morning that police even searched under the carpets at the presidential palace, and found approximately 10 “nice” watches.

“Staff from the Government Palace completely facilitated the diligence requested by the Attorney General’s Office, which was carried out normally and without incident,” Peru’s presidency said in a message Saturday morning on X, formerly Twitter.

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In an unusual interview during the early hours, Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen told RPP radio that he considered the raid “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Adrianzen added that “a storm was being generated where there is none” and the work of the prosecution is causing “political noise that affects investments”.

Boluarte has not commented on Friday’s searches.

Boluarte initially claimed ownership of at least one Rolex as a long-held possession and urged the media not to delve into personal matters, during a press conference in March.

Earlier in the week, Attorney General Juan Villena criticised Boluarte’s request to delay her appearance before the court for two weeks, emphasising her obligation to cooperate with the investigation.

In the interview with RPP, Boluarte’s lawyer, Castaneda, did not say how many of the watches found in the palace were Rolex watches.

Political turmoil is nothing new in Peru, which has seen six presidents in the past six years. But many see Boluarte’s recent statements as contradicting her earlier pledge to speak truthfully to prosecutors, exacerbating a political crisis stemming from her unexplained ownership of Rolex watches.

Peru’s Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen talks to the media on Saturday after prosecutors raided the home of President Dina Boluarte in Lima, Peru. Photo: Reuters

The Attorney General emphasised Boluarte’s obligation to promptly produce the three Rolex watches for investigation, cautioning against their disposal or destruction.

Boluarte, a 61-year-old lawyer, ascended from a modest district official to vice president under President Pedro Castillo in July 2021, subsequently assuming the presidency in December 2022 following Castillo’s impeachment after he attempted to dissolve congress and rule by decree.

At least 49 people were killed in the protests that followed.

Critics accuse Boluarte’s government of taking an increasingly authoritarian bent as it staves off demands for early elections and works with members of congress on laws that threaten to undermine the independence of Peru’s judicial system.

Boluarte will testify to the prosecutor’s office next Friday, April 5, Castañeda told RPP.

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