Case #1722.0

Robust Web of Corruption: Peru's Intelligence Chief Vladimiro Montesinos

Publication Date: November 01, 2003
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In 1990, President Alberto Fujimori swept to power in Peru on a wave of public enthusiasm for his promised reforms. Indeed, over the next five years Fujimori accomplished something of an economic turnaround miracle. He also vanquished a homegrown terrorist movement and proved a willing partner in the war against drugs. The international community, including the US, admired and supported him. By Fujimoris side stood a shadowy figure, Vladimiro Montesinos. Never appointed to any official office, Montesinos nonetheless became the virtual head of the intelligence service, and he exercised unique influence over Fujimori. His reputation was as Mr. Fix-it: he could get anything done. Both Fujimori and the US (he had a relationship with the CIA) benefited from his services. With Montesinos behind-the-scenes assistance, Fujimoris government became ever more authoritarian, extending executive influence over the judiciary, the military and the legislature. But in September 2000, the reason for Montesano's remarkable effectiveness was dramatically exposed with the television airing of a videotape in which he bribed an opposition congressman. As the story unfolded, Montesinos was revealed as the mastermind of a sophisticated network of corruption which reached into most sectors of society: the legislature, judiciary, media, military and industry. Working with the primary evidence of the videotapes, this case paints a rarely glimpsed picture of corruption in action. It describes Montesinos's rise to power, and the mechanics and protocols of bribery and fraud.

Learning Objective:
Students can discuss what constitutes corruption--exchange of money, or exchange of favors as well? They can also examine the objective circumstances which allow corruption to flourish, and what measures can be taken against it.

Other Details

Case Author:
Kirsten Lundberg
Faculty Lead:
Philip Heymann
Pages (incl. exhibits):
South America