- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2001

LIMA, Peru — Jailed spy master Vladimiro Montesinos says he may hand over 30,000 videos documenting dirty work behind former President Alberto Fujimori's government — apparently seeking to avoid a stint in a tough anti-terrorist prison he helped design.
How much Mr. Montesinos will tell is unknown, his attorney said yesterday. The government appears to be eyeing options to seek the extradition of Mr. Fujimori, who has been holed up in his ancestral homeland of Japan since fleeing the country in November.
Tuesday evening, Peruvian President Valentin Paniagua said Japan should extradite Mr. Fujimori because it "would not want to violate international norms."
Mr. Montesinos, who was Mr. Fujimori's right-hand man during his 1990-2000 tenure as president, is charged with running a web of corruption that controlled large portions of the military, police and legal system. He fled Peru in October and was captured on Saturday in a slum outside Venezuela's capital.
The videos "are in Lima and there are about 30,000," Mr. Montesinos told six anti-corruption judges during a court hearing on Monday. "I have videos that show businessmen, American, Russian and European diplomats that if I release could provoke an international crisis."
"I can't say what Mr. Montesinos will say to authorities and what he will not say," Mr. Montesinos' court-appointed attorney, Patricia Hurtado, said yesterday. "I don't know if so many videos even exist."
Lima's largest Blockbuster Video outlet needs a mini-mall-sized store to sport a collection of 36,000 cassettes.
Miss Hurtado said Mr. Montesinos' comments were made "casually" and were never included in any official court record. The judges are sorting out hundreds of money-laundering, drug-trafficking and arms-dealing charges against Mr. Montesinos.
She said one reason for mentioning the tapes may be Mr. Montesinos' desire to avoid a transfer to the maximum-security navy prison in Lima's port of Callao. He is currently held in a cellblock within the Justice Palace.
It was Mr. Montesinos who originally set up Callao as an exclusive prison to house the likes of Abimael Guzman, founder of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency, who has served his life sentence there since his capture in a Lima safe house in 1992.
Thousands of videotapes made by Mr. Montesinos already have been uncovered, showing the 55-year-old spy chief and his emissaries bribing election officials, lawmakers, military chiefs and media heads.
Those tapes have led to investigations of the former president of the National Election Board, three Supreme Court judges, a district mayor and a congressman known as an anti-corruption crusader.
Meanwhile, Peru's ambassador to Japan, Luis Macchiavello, was summoned to Lima for consultations yesterday. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said his recall had not been scheduled in advance, though he said ambassadors are often called home for face-to-face meetings.
But the step raised suggestions Mr. Macchiavello would be asked to persuade Japan to extradite Mr. Fujimori.

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