Peru authorities say Peruvian journalist deported in US-Russia spy swap falsified documentsBy Carla Salazar, AP
Friday, August 27, 2010
Peru: Peruvian in Russia spy swap faked records
LIMA, Peru — A Peruvian journalist deported by the U.S. to Russia in a spy swap was accused on Friday of falsifying documents in Peru, and a prosecutor said she will be questioned by police if she returns.
Anti-corruption prosecutor Jorge Luis Caldas said his office filed a complaint against Vicky Pelaez for allegedly altering her birth and marriage records. He said if she comes back to this South American country, she could be detained if authorities find evidence of a crime.
Pelaez, 55, a longtime columnist for the newspaper El Diario La Prensa in New York, was deported to Russia in July along with her 65-year-old husband, Mikhail Vasenkov, who U.S. authorities said had long used the false name Juan Lazaro.
Peru’s foreign minister previously warned that Vasenkov could be charged with lying on his Peruvian citizenship application if he returns to Peru, where the couple lived before moving to the United States.
Lawyers for the couple previously said the pair planned to return to Peru, where they met in the 1980s. Pelaez’s lawyer in the United States, Genesis Peduto, did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.
Pelaez “has a double birth certificate with different names,” Caldas said in an interview with the Peruvian broadcaster Radioprogramas. “She has a marriage certificate listing facts that don’t fit the truth, such as, for example, listing an uncle as her father.”
The prosecutor said the complaint was filed July 23 and an investigation was opened a week ago.
“If she enters the country, she is going to have to respond to police subpoenas, and if the prosecutor finds reasonable evidence, he could order her detention,” Caldas said.
Caldas said that Pelaez is also suspected of bribery and that prosecutors plan to investigate whether Peruvian officials helped her alter her personal information in the documents.
Pelaez and Vasenkov met in Peru in the early 1980s when she was a TV reporter and he a news photographer. He long identified himself as a Uruguayan.
It is unclear whether Pelaez was aware of her husband’s true identity before the couple’s June arrest by U.S. authorities along with eight other people accused of being Russian spies.
The 10 were sent to Russia last month in exchange for the release by Moscow of four people convicted of spying for the West.
Pelaez and Vasenkov both pleaded guilty in the United States to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country.
Tags: Eastern Europe, Espionage, Europe, Latin America And Caribbean, Lima, North America, Peru, Russia, South America, United States