Why Peru President Dina Boluarte’s Brother was in Jail for 9 days

By May 21, 2024

Lima, Peru — Recently, Peru has been embroiled in a high-profile scandal involving President Dina Boluarte’s brother, Nicanor Boluarte, and her lawyer, Mateo Castañeda. The case has raised significant questions about corruption and influence peddling at the highest levels of government.

Here are some key facts about the case that you should know.

The arrests

On May 10, agents from the High Complexity Crimes Investigation Division (Diviac) of the National Police arrested Nicanor Boluarte at his residence in the San Borja district of Lima for a period of 10 days. However, nine days later, Friday, May 18, the Fifth National Appeals Chamber revoked the detention of both, so they regained their freedom, but they will continue to be investigated.

This detention was part of an investigation into a suspected criminal network. On the same day, police also arrested Mateo Castañeda, President Boluarte’s lawyer, and several other individuals implicated in the case known as “Waykis in the Shadow.”

Local media reported that police raided the homes of Nicanor Boluarte, Castañeda, and 22 others. 

The accusations against those close to Boluarte

Nicanor Boluarte has been accused of influence peddling. He is suspected of manipulating the appointment of prefects and sub-prefects in various regions to raise funds and gather signatures to form a new political party, “Citizens for Peru,” ahead of the 2026 general elections. In Peru, prefects and sub-prefects act as representatives of the executive branch in provinces and districts, ensuring government presence throughout the country.

Mateo Castañeda is accused by the Public Ministry of attempting to obstruct the investigation into Nicanor Boluarte. He allegedly sought information from senior police officials and offered them government protection in return.

The investigation and subsequent arrests are part of a broader crackdown on corruption in Peru. The “Waykis in the Shadow” case highlights concerns about the misuse of political appointments and the potential for establishing criminal networks within the government, similar to accusations facing members of the previous administration of Pedro Castillo, who is currently serving pretrial detention for attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. 

Nicanor Boluarte and Castañeda appealed the 10-day detention

On May 13, the Judiciary accepted an appeal filed by the defense of Nicanor Boluarte, Mateo Castañeda, and three other individuals implicated in the case. The release of the accused occurred on May 18 because the judge determined that there was no danger of flight or obstruction of justice.

Dina Boluarte. Image courtesy of Peru’s Presidency

President Boluarte has always defended her brother  

President Dina Boluarte has repeatedly defended her brother. In January, she publicly denied his involvement in organizing a political party using the prefects and sub-prefects appointed by her government. 

Following her brother’s arrest, she reaffirmed her trust in the justice system and emphasized that she will remain focused on her presidential duties despite these accusations.

“Stop defaming my brother, who is not participating in anything, in any party organization, or using prefects or sub-prefects,” she declared in January.

On May 10, the day of her elder brother’s arrest, Dina Boluarte stated that she will continue working without distraction on “minor matters” and trusting in the justice system.