(CNN Español) – A Peruvian court on Wednesday ordered a six-month ban on leaving the country by the newly appointed Peruvian ambassador to Venezuela, Richard Rojas Garcia, to investigate an alleged aggravated money laundering crime.
Rojas’ appointment marked a resumption of diplomatic relations between Peru and the government of questionable President Nicolas Maduro. Speaking to the PLP, Rojas said that Venezuela is a democracy.
The Sixth Court of Preliminary Investigation of the Supreme National Court justified the obstruction of departure to Rojas as necessary “to achieve the purposes of the investigation procedures requested by the Public Prosecution”.
In an interview with RPP over the weekend, Rojas said there was “no evidence” against him and they would not find any. At the actual hearing, he considered the prosecutor’s office request “excessive and unnecessary” and detrimental to his labor and personal rights. He added that he is ready to support all investigations conducted by justice. The national leader of Peru Libre is being investigated for allegedly collaborating in carrying out the transfers and concealing the illegal funding of the last presidential campaign of his party, the power that won the presidency of Pedro Castillo.
This case arose from another case known as “Los Dinámicos del Centro”, in which the head of the party, Vladimir Cerrone, and other militants, who, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, organized a network to collect bribes for granting licenses in the Junín region, are also being investigated.
According to the state-run Andean Agency, Cerrone denied that any financial shelter resulting from the criminal activities of the said organization ended in the said party’s election campaign. “There is not a single element that can prove that (these resources) went to Pedro Castillo’s campaign,” he said.
At the hearing, Rojas denied having any connection with the officials under investigation.
Asked about the case at a press conference, the Prime Minister, Mírtha Vázquez, said she was aware of the ongoing process and that they “fully respect” the decisions of the judiciary and indicated this, if any. The decision had the effect of appointing Rojas, who remains in Peru, would have taken it into account.
On October 15, the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported in a tweet that the Venezuelan government had granted approval to Rojas as the country’s new ambassador. On the same day, the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Alexandre Yanez Deleuze had been appointed by Venezuela as head of its mission in Lima. These measures represent the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries at the highest level, after both withdrew their ambassadors in 2017.
– Jimena de la Quintana of CNN en Español contributed to this report from Peru.