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Peruvian authorities 'closing in' on Montesinos
LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Officials in Peru believe that former presidential adviser Vladmiro Montesinos, whose role in a scandal prompted the president to call early elections, is still in the country and say authorities are closing in on him.
Montesinos, also the former intelligence chief, fled Peru after a videotape surfaced that allegedly showed him giving an opposition politician $15,000 to support the president.
He returned to the country after the Panamanian government refused to grant him asylum, and President Alberto Fujimori launched a nationwide manhunt for him last week.
No charges have been filed against Montesinos, considered by some to be the power behind Fujimori's government. Public prosecutor Jose Ugaz said Sunday an arrest warrant could be issued "within hours."
Justice Minister Alberto Bustamante said Sunday police knew Montesinos' general whereabouts and were closing in on him.
Ugaz announced Sunday he had widened his probe of Montesinos, and that it would extend to all areas of government, even if that included the presidency.
In the aftermath of the Montesinos scandal, Fujimori announced he would leave office four years before the end of his term. He also promised that new elections would be held before his departure, which now is expected in July 2001.
Last month, Fujimori announced the high commanders of the navy, air force and army were all being replaced. Some of the leaders, who Fujimori said had resigned, were Montesinos allies.
Some fear Montesinos still wields power
Opposition leaders, who fear the military may try to block any elected change of power in Peru, remain suspicious of Montesinos. Some fear he still wields considerable influence over officers in charge of Peru's armed forces.
The opposition is demanding Fujimori be investigated for any role in the scandal, and has requested the congress create a special commission to investigate the finances of Fujimori, his family, cabinet members and military leaders.
Fujimori said Friday that Montesinos was being protected by two retired military officials.
Peru spy chief's Swiss millions frozen; key ally quits
Bienvenidos al Ministerio de la Presidencia (Spanish)
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