Minister Resigns Amid Rolexgate Scandal

Minister Resigns Amid Rolexgate Scandal
Minister Resigns Amid Rolexgate Scandal

Peru's interior minister resigned, two days after police under his command raided the home and office of President Dina Boluarte as part of a probe into how she obtained Rolex watches she has been seen wearing.

With Peru feasting on a scandal dubbed Rolexgate, the minister, Victor Torres, said after a cabinet meeting that he was stepping down for personal reasons.

But his departure was widely seen as punishment for the weekend raids targeting the president. He has also taken a lot of heat in congress over a sharp increase in street crime.

Torres said he coordinated his departure with Boluarte. "I am leaving because I asked the lady and she accepted," Torres told reporters.

This is the first casualty of the drama that erupted in mid-March when a news program revealed that Boluarte, who has a rock bottom approval rating, owns several expensive Rolex timepieces and it is not clear how she acquired them on a government salary of about $55,000.

Boluarte, 61, has not cleared things up other than to say the watches are the fruit of a life of hard work.

She is now the target of a corruption probe to determine if she has enriched herself illegally since taking power in December 2022 and for failing to report the watches as part of her assets.

Boluarte is scheduled to give a formal statement to investigators and has been instructed to present any Rolex watches in her possession when she goes to that meeting.

None were found in the dramatic raids carried out Friday night into Saturday.

Boluarte came to power in December 2022 after then president Pedro Castillo tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, leading to his arrest and violent protests demanding she step down, and that fresh elections be held.

She is also facing a constitutional complaint over a crackdown on those protests which led to the deaths of more than 50 people.