Government agents raid Peruvian President Boluarte’s residence in luxury watch investigation

Police guard outside President Dina Boluarte's house during a raid ordered by the Attorney General's Office aimed at seizing Rolex watches as part of a preliminary investigation into alleged illicit enrichment in Lima, Peru, Saturday, March 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

LIMA — Peruvian president Dina Boluarte said in a televised address on Saturday that she rejected the “unconstitutional and discriminatory” way an investigation into possible illicit enrichment is being carried out, after police broke down the front door of her house with a battering ram overnight in search of luxury watches.

Police had waited in vain for several minutes for someone to open the door late Friday, as dozens of armed officers carrying ballistic shields and batons looked on. Boluarte said the authorities did not allow enough time for her family members to rouse themselves, dress and answer the door, especially given the late hour.


After their raid around midnight, officers went to the presidential palace where, this time, they were admitted without resorting to force.

The country is accustomed to seeing searches in the homes of former presidents, but this marked the first time in Peru’s history that police forcibly entered the home of a sitting president. Raids on the presidential palace had happened before.

Boluarte is being preliminarily investigated for allegedly acquiring an undisclosed collection of luxury watches since becoming vice president and social inclusion minister in July 2021, and then president in December 2022.

The investigation began in mid-March after a TV program spotlighted Boluarte wearing a Rolex watch that is worth up to $14,000 in Peru. Later, other programs detected at least two more Rolexes.

Boluarte, a 61-year-old lawyer, was a modest district official before entering then-President Pedro Castillo’s government on a monthly salary of $8,136 in July 2021. Boluarte later assumed the presidency with a lower salary of $4,200 per month.

Shortly thereafter, she began to display the luxury watches.

Boluarte did not list any Rolexes in an obligatory asset declaration document. In her pre-recorded and televised address on Saturday, Boluarte did not clarify the origin of the watches.

Boluarte said that her lawyer had advised her not to make any statement until she attends the prosecutor’s office to “clarify the facts.”

But she denied accusations of corruption. “I have always said that I’m an honest woman,” Boluarte said.

“I ask myself a question: since when does a sector of the press care about what a president wears or does not wear? I hope and I want to believe that this is not a sexist or discriminatory issue,” added Boluarte.

Boluarte’s lawyer, Mateo Castañeda, told radio station RPP on Saturday morning that police even searched under the carpets at the presidential palace, and found approximately 10 “nice” watches.

“Staff from the Government Palace completely facilitated the diligence requested by the Attorney General’s Office, which was carried out normally and without incident,” Peru’s presidency said in a message Saturday morning on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

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