Peruvian Vice Prez resigns amid corruption probe

Peruvian Vice President Omar Chehade has resigned over a probe into an alleged influence-peddling scheme.

Lima: Peruvian Vice President Omar Chehade,
once seen as a close ally of President Ollanta Humala, has
resigned over a probe into an alleged influence-peddling

Chehade, one of two Peruvian vice presidents, took the
decision "with the goal of not causing prejudice to the good
image of government," according to his letter of resignation
released by Congress on Tuesday.

Chehade, 41, had been under investigation for allegedly
using his influence to help the powerful Wong agricultural
business conglomerate.

He denied charges that he met in October with three
Peruvian police generals to discuss removing striking workers
from a sugar cooperative to clear the way for Wong to take it
over. However, he did admit to political "inexperience."

A lawyer who is also a member of Congress, Chehade held
the largely ceremonial job of second vice president for three
months before resigning.

Chehade made his name as an anti-corruption prosecutor
and in helping extradite former president Alberto Fujimori
from Chile to stand trial.

Fujimori is serving a 25-year prison sentence for human
rights violations and corruption during his 1990-2000

Chehade`s role in the extradition earned him the enmity
of Fujimori`s supporters, who have a sizeable representation
in Congress under the leadership of the former president`s
daughter, Keiko Fujimori.

Humala, who has made fighting corruption a priority,
distanced himself from Chehade, saying that everyone should
"take responsibility" for his or her actions. He earlier
suggested Chehade might want to "step aside."

Chehade complained in October of "an unjust and excessive
media and political campaign" unleashed against him.
On December 5, the Congressional Ethics Committee
suspended Chehade for 120 days from his duties as a legislator
and referred his case the Constitutional Accusations
Commission based on "evidence of the alleged crime of active
generic bribery and influence peddling."

Yesterday, another committee narrowly voted 13-12 to
spare Chehade from further judicial investigation or expulsion
from the legislature.
In comments to reporters, Prime Minister Oscar Valdes
called Chehade`s resignation a "personal decision" that the
President accepted.