World

Peruvian president’s residence raided in luxury watches probe

Dina Boluarte had been told to promptly produce the three Rolex watches for investigation.

Police stand guard outside President Dina Boluarte’s residence (Martin Mejia/AP)
Peru Boluarte Police stand guard outside President Dina Boluarte’s residence (Martin Mejia/AP) (Martin Mejia/AP)

Peruvian investigators have broken into the president’s residence with a sledgehammer in a raid connected with her possession of luxury watches.

Dina Boluarte is being preliminarily investigated for possessing an undisclosed collection of watches since she came to power in July 2021 as vice president and social inclusion minister, and then as president in December 2022.

Initially, she claimed ownership of at least one Rolex which was acquired through “personal gains” since the age of 18, urging the media not to delve into personal matters.

Earlier in the week, Attorney General Juan Villena criticised Ms Boluarte’s request to delay her appearance before a court for two weeks, emphasising her obligation to cooperate with the investigation.

Police and prosecutors stand outside President Dina Boluarte’s residence (Martin Mejia/AP)
Peru Boluarte Police and prosecutors stand outside President Dina Boluarte’s residence (Martin Mejia/AP) (Martin Mejia/AP)

Political turmoil is nothing new in Peru, which has seen six presidents in the last five years.

But many see Ms Boluarte’s recent statements as contradicting her earlier pledge to speak truthfully to prosecutors, exacerbating a political crisis stemming from her unexplained ownership of Rolex watches.

The Attorney General said Ms Boluarte must promptly produce the three Rolex watches for investigation, cautioning against their disposal or destruction.

Ms Boluarte, a 61-year-old lawyer, ascended from a modest district official to vice president under President Pedro Castillo in July 2021, assuming the presidency in December 2022 following Mr Castillo’s impeachment after he attempted to dissolve congress and rule by decree.

At least 49 people were killed in the protests that followed.

Critics accuse Ms Boluarte’s government of taking an increasingly authoritarian bent as it staves off demands for early elections and works with members of congress on laws that threaten to undermine the independence of Peru’s judicial system.