Peru PM resigns over leaked recording with woman

Peru’s Prime Minister Alberto Otárola has resigned over allegations he attempted to use his influence to help a woman gain lucrative government contracts.

The scandal escalated last week when a Peruvian TV broadcaster aired audio clips of what it said were conversations between the two.

Mr Otárola, 57, has denied any wrongdoing.

A formal investigation has been launched into the allegations.

According to the Panorama programme, which first aired the clips over the weekend, the woman Mr Otárola can be heard speaking to is Yaziré Pinedo, 25.

Ms Pinedo was reportedly awarded two contracts for work in the defence ministry in 2023 that earned her a total of 53,000 sol ($14,000; £11,000).

Mr Otárola was Peru’s defence minister until the end of 2022, when President Dina Boluarte took office and he was promoted.

In the audio clips, Mr Otárola can be heard declaring his love for the woman and asking her to send him her CV.

The remarks appear to contradict a statement he made prior to their release, that he had only met Ms Pinedo once at a meeting.

She told Peruvian broadcaster Canal N on Tuesday that she had previously had a brief relationship with him.

Both have said the audio recordings were from conversations in 2021 – before Mr Otárola became a cabinet minister.

Nevertheless, President Boluarte demanded he return early from an official visit to Canada, and his resignation followed.

“Those who have always wanted me out of the government… have not even hesitated to edit an audio with the veiled purpose of tarnishing my image,” Mr Otárola said in his resignation speech.

Among those he has accused of being part of a plot to disgrace him is former Prime Minister Martín Vizcarra, who said on social media that he “strongly rejected” the “delusional accusations”.

According to Peruvian law, all 18 members of Peru’s cabinet must follow Mr Otárola and hand in their resignations – but the president has the choice to reselect them again if she wishes.

Peru’s government is no stranger to shake-ups – Ms Boluarte has ordered several cabinet reshuffles since taking power in late 2022 as she attempts to quell opposition to her leadership.

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