Ex-Peru leader guilty of corruption
Court sentences Alberto Fujimori to seven-and-a-half years in jail for embezzlement.
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2009 19:52 GMT
Fujimori is already serving a 25-year sentence for his connection to a military death squad [Reuters]

Alberto Fujimori, a former president of Peru, has been convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.

Peru's supreme court on Monday found Fujimori guilty of giving an illegal $15m bonus to Vladimiro Montesinos, his former senior aide and intelligence chief.

Fujimori told the court that he had paid off Montesinos because he feared his trusted right-hand man was plotting a coup against him.

The payment was made two months before Fujimori's government collapsed in 2000 amid a corruption scandal, sparked by a video that showed Montesinos paying bribes to politicians and businessmen.

Montesinos fled Peru as the scandal unfolded, but was later arrested in Venezuela.

The former intelligence chief, who is also serving a jail term, himself faces charges of corruption, drug trafficking, and selling arms to left-wing guerrillas in Colombia.

Possible pardon

Fujimori has already incurred a number of other court rulings.

In 2007, he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment for directing aides to steal incriminating documents from the house of Montesinos's wife.

He was also sentenced to 25 years in prison in April after he was found guilty of permitting the operations of an army death squad that killed 25 civilians in 1991 and 1992.

The corruption case comes weeks after an opinion poll showed that Keiko Fujimori, the former president's daughter, is the leading candidate in the run-up to presidential elections set to take place in 2011.

She has said that she would pardon her father if elected, although it is not clear if she would have the constitutional authority to do so.

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