Montesinos is gone, but has Peru recovered all the money he stole?

More than a decade has past since Vladimiro Montesinos, head of Peru’s intelligence service and advisor to President Fujimori, received his first sentence for what would expand to be more than 30 convictions related to corruption. Montesinos, known as President Fujimori’s “Rasputin,” was charged for embezzlement, influence peddling, bribery and involvement in a death squad, among several other crimes.

At first glance, Peru’s case is usually lauded among the top five asset recovery success stories. Compared to other (in)famous examples, recovering more than $170 million from several jurisdictions in less than a year is an important achievement. Yet, $47 million remain frozen in European banks.

What has Peru recovered so far?

Assets worth more than 170 USD million have been repatriated from Switzerland, the United States and the Cayman Islands. This public money was stolen during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori during Montesinos’ tenure between 1990 and 2000.

Switzerland – The first return of assets from Switzerland to Peru consisted of  $93 million in August 2002, less than two years after the case initiated. Between 2015 and 2016, Peru recovered $17 million from two bank accounts in Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Cayman Islands – Montesinos’ excessive greed led to the discovery of funds in the Cayman Islands’ branch of the Pacific Industrial Bank. Facing severe penalties in both Peru and the United States, bank authorities fully collaborated with the investigation. An audit of the bank revealed deposits of $44 million in accounts connected to Montesino´s associates.

United States – After four years of investigations from 2000-20004, the US repatriated around 35 million dollars to Peru in January, 2004. Peru agreed to invest the money in anti-corruption efforts in exchange for the United States transferring one hundred per cent of the assets forfeited in the case.

According to Joel Segura, from the Peruvian anti-corruption prosecutor´s office, Montesinos allegedly stole more than $600 million from Peru’s public coffers. If Peru has recovered more than 170 millions and around 47 remain frozen, where are the remaining $380 million?