The constitutional complaint is the most serious legal development against the embattled President Pedro Castillo.
Peru’s prosecutors have filed a constitutional complaint against the country’s embattled president, Pedro Castillo, hours after the arrest of five of his allies on corruption charges.
Tuesday’s legal motion was the most aggressive push yet against the president, who took office just a year ago and already faces five separate criminal investigations and has survived two impeachment trials.
“We found very serious evidence of a criminal organization that has taken root in the government,” said Attorney General Patricia Benavides.
Castillo has been repeatedly asked whether he has used his presidency for the good of himself and his family. He denies any wrongdoing.
While Peruvian presidents typically enjoy immunity from criminal cases, a constitutional complaint allows Congress to conduct its own trial. However, some observers have noted that prosecuting an incumbent president will be constitutionally complex.
The outcome of this trial could lead to Castillo’s impeachment; it requires fewer votes than a full impeachment trial.
Prosecutors said the five people arrested Tuesday helped Castillo’s former secretary avoid jail time on corruption charges earlier this year.
Among those arrested are Auner Vasquez and Biberto Castillo, who worked at the Peruvian Government Palace, where the President’s office is located.
Prosecutors also ordered raids that were part of a separate operation, including raiding a home occupied by Castillo’s sister and the homes of six lawmakers who have supported his government.
The president’s sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, was sentenced to 30 months in custody in August. Paredes has not been charged with any crime but will be serving time in detention while prosecutors continue their investigation.
Prosecutors allege she was part of a group that hired Castillo allies in her home region of Cajamarca in the Peruvian Andes to do public contracts.
The government said it would issue a statement later on Tuesday regarding the detention and raids.
Castillo condemned the raid on his sister’s home in a tweet, calling it an “abusive act.”