Peru president’s brother held in corruption probe

The brother of Peru's under-pressure president, Dina Boluarte, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a corruption network, according to BBC News.

Prosecutors say Nicanor Boluarte used powers granted by his sister to release funds to regional leaders and mayors in exchange for bribes. He denies wrongdoing.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 21 other people, including President Boluarte's lawyer, Mateo Castañeda.

It comes weeks after the embattled president's private home was raided in a scandal over Rolex watches, which she had allegedly not declared.

Her older brother, Nicanor Boluarte, 64, is accused of leading a corruption and influence peddling scheme working to appoint officials to government positions in different parts of the country.

Prosecutors allege that this was in exchange for money and an agreement that the officials would help gather signatures to register a political party, known as the Citizens for Peru party, which Mr Boluarte would head up, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile, prosecutors accuse Mr Castañeda of interfering with the investigation against Mr Boluarte.

Mr Castañeda is advising President Boluarte in the corruption inquiry, which has been dubbed "Rolexgate." She also denies wrongdoing.

The arrests of both Mr Boluarte and Mr Castañeda, and police raids of their homes, were captured on local television.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Peru's judiciary said it had ordered the "preliminary detention" of Nicanor Boluarte, and others, for a period of 10 days.

At a public event on Friday, President Boluarte did not make reference to the arrests but said she trusted Peru's justice system.

"We will not be distracted by minor matters. We believe in justice and the reasonableness of those who administer justice in the country, and in that regard, the government will continue to bet on democracy and to respect the constitution," she said.

This is the latest saga in what has been a scandal-hit presidency for Ms Boluarte.

In January 2023, just weeks after taking office, an inquiry was launched into Ms. Boluarte and some of her key ministers over charges of "genocide, qualified homicide, and serious injuries."

It followed the death of more than 50 supporters of ex-President Pedro Castillo in a government crackdown on demonstrations calling for her resignation and fresh elections.

Mr Castillo, a left-wing politician, was arrested in December 2022 for trying to dissolve Congress.

He was dismissed by Parliament and is now imprisoned while being investigated for alleged corruption and rebellion.

Human rights groups accuse the military and the police of excessive use of force and of firing indiscriminately at protesters.