Top Peruvian Banker to Take Stand Over Cash Donations to Political Scion

(Bloomberg) -- The former chairman of Peru’s largest bank will testify in a money laundering trial against one of the country’s most powerful politicians, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

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Dionisio Romero Paoletti, chairman of Credicorp Ltd. for over a decade until 2021, will address the court in one of Peru’s most important trials in recent years, against three-time presidential runner up Keiko Fujimori. The massive case is expected to last years and include some 2,000 witnesses. But Romero Paoletti’s testimony is likely to be among the most prominent, as prosecutors seek to imprison Fujimori for up to 30 years.

Fujimori is accused of laundering campaign contributions from Credicorp and some of Peru’s largest corporations to finance her failed presidential bids in 2011 and 2016. Prosecutors allege she was also illegally financed by Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA, which is infamous in Latin America for having bribed politicians in many countries.

“Dionisio Romero Paoletti will come to narrate how between Nov. 2010 and May 2011 he went down to the vault of his bank and withdrew cash 17 times totaling $3.65 million,” prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez said in his opening statement. “That cash, in a bag in his own hand, he personally gave it to Keiko Fujimori.”

Fujimori — daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori — has denied any wrongdoing. She has already spent time in pre-trial detention over the allegations and is widely expected to run for the presidency a fourth time in the upcoming 2026 elections.

Credicorp — which owns Peru’s largest bank, known as BCP — has in the past acknowledged the contributions and that they exceeded legal limits in place at the time. But the company has said only Fujimori is liable for the money.

“The law in place at that time imposed no sanction against contributors but only against the recipients of the campaign contribution,” Credicorp said this year in its latest 20-F form filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Credicorp added that the campaign contributions do not pose a significant risk to the company or its businesses.

Romero Paoletti is a member of the Romero family, one of Peru’s wealthiest, which is the largest shareholder in Credicorp. Romero Paoletti has since left the company, which is now headed by Luis Enrique Romero.

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