Fujimori reviewed content of anti-opposition newspapers before publishing, witness says

Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) received the headlines and contents of the country's infamous tabloid newspapers known as "prensa chicha" before they were published, according to recent testimony heard at Fujimori's most recent trial over accusations that his government financed the newspapers in hope of boosting his 2000 election campaign.

Fujimori's head of intelligence, Vladimiro Montesinos, would send the headlines to him Fujimori through phone communications and meetings, according to Mario Ruiz Agüero, Montesino's former secretary, who served as a witness during the trial that Fujimori has been facing in Barbadillo, Lima.

“Fujimori knew about it because Montesinos used the encrypted phone that was only used to communicate with the president. At other times, Vladimiro would arrive at the presidential palace with drafts of the headlines,” Ruiz Agüero said in front of Judge Victoria Sánchez Espinoza.

The witness also said that the publicists Daniel Borobio and Augusto Bresani would go to the National Intelligence Service (SIN) to give Montesinos the drafts of the newspapers that were being prepared. According to Ruiz Agüero, Bresani, under the order of Montesinos, received between $75,000 and $150,000s every 15 days for his services.

Fujimori – who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2009 for corruption and crimes against humanity for the massacres of La Cantuta (1992) and Barrios Altos (1991) – is the last to be processed in the tabloid newspapers case, in which he is accused of embezzling 122 million soles (almost $44 million) of the Peruvian armed forces budget to use in his campaign for his second reelection.

Between 2004 and 2005, 29 people have been charged in this case, including Montesinos, who received a sentence of eight years in prison.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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