LIMA (Reuters) – A fugitive Peru supreme court justice accused of leading a criminal group that infiltrated the country’s justice system was captured in Madrid on Friday, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said.
Judge Cesar Hinostroza’s escape to Spain through normal border exit points has embarrassed Vizcarra, who has made fighting graft the top priority in his seven-month-old government.
“He’s now with Spanish police, foreign affairs agents and Peru’s police attache,” Vizcarra said on local broadcaster RPP.
Hinostroza had been barred by court orders from leaving the country while he is investigated for influence peddling and other crimes.
He has been at the centre of a cronyism scandal since his phone conversations recorded by police in a drug trafficking probe were leaked to media, allegedly revealing what prosecutors have described as a criminal network of judges who traded favours with politicians and businessmen.
Hinostroza has denied committing any crimes and could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Vizcarra accepted the resignation of his interior minister on Wednesday after his government confirmed Hinostroza had left the country via Ecuador on Oct. 7.
Peru’s migrations agency said Hinostroza appeared to have been helped by a government official who has since been suspended and reported to prosecutors.
(Reporting By Marco Aquino, Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Susan Thomas)