Peru's Ex-Spy Chief Gets 15 Years in Prison

A court has sentenced Peru's former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos (search) to 15 years in prison on charges that he paid television station owners millions of dollars to run favorable news about ex-President Alberto Fujimori (search).

The anti-corruption court's sentence, delivered Monday on charges of corruption and illicit association, was the highest yet in six trials involving the fallen spymaster.

Montesinos, 59, faces dozens of more charges, including corruption, drug trafficking and authorizing death squad killings while serving as Fujimori's security adviser in the 1990s.

Monday's guilty verdict was the fifth for Montesinos since his trials began in 2002. Previously, courts had convicted him on four lesser corruption counts, with concurrently served jail time adding up to nine years.

A court last week found him not guilty on charges that he helped the cousin of a prominent mayor beat a drug rap.

In the most serious trial to date, Montesinos faces charges of masterminding the 1999 delivery of 10,000 assault rifles to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC (search). Prosecutors are seeking a 20-year sentence in that trial, which opened in January.

Police captured the fallen spy chief in Venezuela in June 2001, seven months after the fall of Fujimori's corruption-ridden regime.

Fujimori now lives in Tokyo where he is protected from extradition due to citizenship extended to him through his Japanese-born parents. Peruvian prosecutors want to try him on more than a dozen charges ranging from corruption to authorizing the death squads. He has denied any wrongdoing.