Peru’s president interrogated by prosecutors for hours amid ‘Rolexgate’ probe

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Peru’s President Dina Boluarte waves as she arrives to attend a press conference at Government Palace in Lima, Peru, on April 5. (AP)

LIMA, Peru, April 6, (AP): Peruvian President Dina Boluarte was interrogated by prosecutors for five hours Friday as authorities investigate whether she illegally received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, luxury watches and jewelry.
Prosecutors have been investigating the highly unpopular leader on charges of illicit enrichment and failure to declare assets. After she gave testimony, Boluarte rolled out of the offices in a car with tinted windows, surrounded by police and security detail.
In a televised speech following the meeting, Boluarte responded to the allegations saying “everything they’ve said is false.” She flaunted one of her Rolex watches and a number of other golden bracelets and necklaces that spurred on the controversy, holding them up for the cameras and railing against critics.
“With respect to the watches, I should recognize that it was a mistake to have accepted (them) on loan,” she said. “As these watches are not my property, I was not obliged to declare them.”
While she said some of the jewelry was hers, she said she received the watches as a loan from Wilfredo Oscorima, the governor of the southern rural region of Ayacucho.
Boluarte’s statements Friday appear to directly contradict previous comments she made saying the Rolex watches were “fruit of my labor,” working since she was 18.
The unfolding scandal is the latest turmoil that has wracked Peru’s political system in recent years.
The probe began in mid-March after the digital news program La Encerrona spotlighted Boluarte wearing a Rolex watch worth up to $14,000 in Peru. Other TV shows later reported that the leader was seen wearing at least two other Rolexes as well as a gold and diamond Cartier bracelet estimated to cost more than $54,000.
The controversy was quickly dubbed “Rolexgate” on social media.
Peruvian law requires officials to declare jewelry whose price exceeds $2,791, and it’s still not clear where the watches and hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank transfers came from.

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