Peru expects to raise at least $1-million (U.S.) by auctioning off dozens of gold watches and jewels seized from the country’s now-jailed former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, the government said on Friday.
The trove of riches is a reminder of the flashy lifestyle of Mr. Montesinos, who fled the country on a yacht in 2000 after a leaked video of him bribing a lawmaker set the stage for the collapse of former President Alberto Fujimori’s government.
Widely seen as having been the true power behind Mr. Fujimori, Mr. Montesinos, 69, was accused of orchestrating death squads, pilfering state funds, arms trafficking and other crimes during Mr. Fujimori’s 10-year administration.
Mr. Montesinos was convicted of several of the charges.
The ex-spymaster’s riches were showcased to journalists on Friday ahead of an auction scheduled for Aug. 18-19 in the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.
Money from the auction will go toward efforts to fight corruption and organized crime, said Maria Sosa, the head of the government’s commission for confiscated assets.
“With this we’ll be able to close a chapter in our fight against corruption and, most importantly, monetize the assets in the interest of the state,” Ms. Sosa said.
The jewels include 39 gold watches, 18 gold and diamond rings, dozens of gold cufflinks, and a key chain in the shape of a bishop chess piece.
Several of the pieces were made to order and have his initials or birth date engraved in them.
The most expensive item is a Corum gold watch encrusted with more than 300 diamonds – it is estimated to fetch some $160,000 (U.S.).
Mr. Montesinos is serving time in a maximum security prison.
Mr. Fujimori is also in prison on corruption and human rights charges.
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