San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Mother-in-law of Peru's ex-president deposited $17 million in Costa Rica banks

Eva Fernenbug, the mother-in-law of former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, allegedly used funds from two bank accounts in Costa Rica to pay for various properties in her country, Peruvian media reported this week, citing Peru’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).

The financial report, published Thursday by most Peruvian newspapers, indicates that Fernenbug – who is currently under investigation for alleged money laundering in her country – had some $17 million stashed in two separate accounts in Costa Rican banks.

She opened the accounts as a representative of Costa Rica-based corporation Ecoteva in January 2012. The first account had $17 million and the second had some $90,000.

Fernenbug transferred $5.3 million to Lima from the first account and used the money to buy a $3.4 million house and an $832,000 office in the Peruvian capital, according to the UIF report.

She also paid a $500,000 mortgage on a house owned by Toledo, which the former president then transferred to his daughter Chantal in 2000.

Fernenbug last year also paid another $277,000 mortgage on a beach house that, according to public records, belongs to Toledo, the report added.

Peru’s Chief Prosecutor José Antonio Peláez Bardales arrived in Costa Rica on Tuesday to further the investigation in coordination with local authorities.

On Thursday, Peláez said he had requested that Costa Rica lift banking secrecy laws in place since 2005, not only for Toledo’s accounts, but also for Fernenbug’s accounts and all others linked to corporations under investigation in Costa Rica.

He said Costa Rica’s Prosecutors Office, and the Tax Intelligence Unit and the Judicial Investigation Police were cooperating in the investigation.

“We will process and analyze all this information back in Lima,” Peláez said on Thursday.

Vicente Zeballos, president of Peru’s Congressional Investigation Committee, told the daily El Comercio that Toledo not only lied to the Congress but also to Peruvian media. “This [UIF report] confirms that he has been playing us and concealing the truth,” he said.

The congressman said Thursday morning that officials will review documentation and then call witnesses, “including Fernenbug,” to testify. 

Contact L. Arias at

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