In Peru, this “Rolexgate” scandal is shaking the government – ​​L’Express

In Peru this Rolexgate scandal is shaking the government –

The President of Peru, Dina Boluarte, claims to have “clean hands”. What about his wrists? The head of state finds herself at the heart of a scandal, called “Rolexgate”. As its name suggests, this case refers to luxury watches that the president is suspected of not having mentioned in her declaration of assets.

On Saturday March 31, his home was searched by around forty police officers and magistrates, as part of a preliminary investigation into alleged acts of illicit enrichment. Two days later, Monday April 1, six of the 18 ministers of the Peruvian government announced their resignation. Starting with the Minister of the Interior, Victor Torres, in office since November. “I’m leaving because I asked him and Madam [Boluarte] accepted”, he said, citing family problems. A few hours later, the ministers of Education, Women, Agrarian Development, Production and Foreign Trade also announced their departures, without provide reason. Their replacements have already taken the oath.

“No room for corruption”

The affair, whose consequences are explosive for Peruvian political life, is incredible to say the least. The scandal broke out on March 15, when the media La Encerrona reveals a series of photos showing Dina Boluarte with different luxury watches on her wrist while she was Minister of Social Inclusion and Vice-President, between July 2021 and December 2022.

The president assures that she acquired these goods with her own funds. “There is no room for corruption in my DNA,” she insists, while maintaining that she has worked since the age of 18 to cover her own expenses.

But, always according to La Encerrona, the head of state was a civil servant before entering the government. With an annual salary that did not exceed 54,000 soles (around 13,500 euros), it was difficult to acquire around fifteen Rolexes, one of which is estimated at 17,565 euros, according to The world.

A Rolex case and card holder

During the search of his home, investigators did not find a Rolex. On the other hand, according to the Peruvian newspaper Ojo, a case from “Casa Banchero” – a distributor of high-end jewelry, including the Rolex brand – as well as a Rolex card holder containing the model code “DateJust” were found at the scene. The prosecution ordered Dina Boluarte to present the watches in her possession during a summons, scheduled for Friday April 5.

In the spotlight, the president has been the subject of numerous investigations at the local level for several weeks. Thus, daily journalists El Commerce notably revealed the existence of a report from the Financial Intelligence Unit dating from 2022. The latter refers to sums of money of unknown origin that Dina Boluarte would have received between 2016 and 2022.

According to the report, cited by the Peruvian daily, Dina Boluarte’s banking operations “could fall under the crime of money laundering.” In the event of prosecution, the Peruvian president cannot, under the Constitution, be tried before July 2026, the date of the end of her mandate.