LIMA (Reuters) – The sister-in-law of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was given 30 months of pre-trial detention on Sunday, the most serious escalation so far of a host of criminal investigations that have targeted the leader’s inner circle.
Castillo has often referred to Yenifer Paredes, his sister-in-law who he and his wife raised since she was little, as his “daughter.”
Prosecutors allege she was part of a group that engaged in influence peddling to assign public contracts to allies of Castillo in their home region of Cajamarca, in the Peruvian Andes.
Paredes has not been charged with a crime and she will spend time in jail as prosecutors continue their investigation.
Castillo, who has been in office for 13 months, is besieged by scandals and has already survived two impeachment attempts. He denies any wrongdoing and has accused prosecutors of being complicit in an attempt to oust him from power.
Prosecutors have opened six criminal investigations against him, including one for alleged obstruction of justice in the firing of a former interior minister.
Another former minister has been on the run for months, while the current transport minister has kept his job despite prosecutors alleging he is part of a “criminal organization” alongside Castillo.
Prosecutors have also asked that Castillo’s wife, Lilia Paredes, be banned from traveling abroad for the next three years.
While prosecutors have moved aggressively with Castillo’s inner circle, they cannot charge or detain him while he remains president.
Peruvian leaders have often been ensnared by corruption scandals. Four past presidents are either in jail, in house arrest or facing charges that could lead them to prison time in the future.
(This story refiles to correct dateline)
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Stephen Coates)