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Ex-president Fujimori to hear corruption verdict

Former President Alberto Fujimori, who has already been sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses committed under his rule, is set to hear his sentence on additional charges of embezzlement and corruption.


AFP - Peru's ex-president Alberto Fujimori, already sentenced in April to 25 years prison for authorizing a secret army hit squad, is set to hear his sentence on Monday on corruption charges.

Fujimori, who was president from 1990 to 2000, faces charges of embezzlement for illegally paying his former top aide and intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos a 15-million-dollar bonus. The sentence is to be announced at 1700 GMT.

The case's lead prosecutor Avelino Guillenin charged last week that Fujimori's efforts were "carefully planned" and that "government officials at the highest level, among them cabinet ministers, looted the state coffers."

Guillen also said the ex-president, now 70, "paid for the silence" of Montesinos in the final months of his time in power because the top aide knew all about corruption and rights abuses during the Fujimori presidency.

Fujimori's presidency collapsed in a whirlwind of scandal after secretly recorded videotapes of Montesinos bribing politicians and businessmen with piles of cash began to air on television. Fujimori resigned via fax from a Tokyo hotel room in November 2000.

Fujimori, a bespectacled agronomist by training, is the son of Japanese immigrants.

Many Peruvians credit Fujimori with crushing two leftist insurgencies that plagued the country -- the Tupac Amaru guerrillas and the Maoist Shining Path rebels -- during his iron-fisted presidency.

A three-judge court in Lima sentenced Fujimori to 25 years prison in April after he was found guilty of authorizing the operations of an army death squad that killed 25 civilians in two bloodbaths in 1991 and 1992, and of ordering the kidnapping of a businessman and a journalist in 1992.

Fujimori was already serving a six-year sentence for a separate case in which he was found guilty of abusing power.

The corruption trial, which began on July 13, came after the ex-president admitted responsibility but did not accept that awarding the money amounted to a crime.

According to Fujimori's lawyer Cesar Nakazaki, the ex-president paid back the money to the government in September 2000.

Guillen has asked the special court for an eight-year prison term for the ex-president, as well as 661,000 dollars in damages.

Montesinos, who fled Peru on a private yacht just before Fujimori's downfall, is currently serving a lengthy prison term.

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