Peruvian president gives statement in graft probe against him

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Peruvian President Pedro Castillo appeared Thursday before prosecutors investigating corruption charges against him, insisting he was innocent but declining to answer their questions.

Leftist Castillo -- a rural school teacher who unexpectedly took power from Peru's traditional political elite in elections last year -- faces five criminal investigations into claims of graft and plagiarizing his university thesis.

He appeared Thursday on claims related to irregular promotions in the military.

"I have told the prosecutor that I am not part of any criminal network, I will prove my innocence," Castillo told reporters after a one-hour session.

"I have robbed no one, I have killed no one, the people have put me here and I will always answer to the people," he said.

Castillo's lawyer Benji Espinoza said his client had made an opening statement to the Attorney General's office, but then invoked his constitutional right to remain silent and not answer questions.

Peruvian presidents cannot be tried while in power, but nothing prevents them from being investigated, according to prosecutors.

Castillo's mandate ends in July 2026.

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