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Peru’s new president is sworn in, his predecessor Castillo captured by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Peruvian President Pedro Castillo addresses the audience during the opening of the 7th Ministerial Summit on Government and Digital Transformation of the Americas, in Lima, Peru, on November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

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Written by Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s Congress sworn in a new president on Wednesday, a day of sweeping political drama that saw former leader Pedro Castillo arrested and removed from office in an impeachment trial hours after he made a last-ditch effort to stay in power by trying to dissolve Congress.

Ignoring Castillo’s attempt to shut down the legislature by decree, lawmakers went ahead with the previously planned impeachment trial, with 101 votes in favor of his removal, six against and 10 abstentions.

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The result was announced to loud cheers, and the legislature summoned Vice President Dina Boulwart to take office.

Boulwart, 60, has been sworn in as president until 2026, making her the first woman to lead Peru. She called for a political truce after months of instability, which witnessed two previous attempts at accountability, and said that a new government would be formed that includes all political spectrums.

It criticized Castillo’s move to dissolve Congress, calling it an “attempted coup”.

The Public Ministry said on Wednesday evening that Castillo had been arrested and charged with the crime of “rebellion” for violating the constitutional order.

Castillo had said earlier that he would temporarily shut down Congress and launch a “government of exception” and call for new legislative elections.

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This led to the resignations of his ministers amid angry accusations from opposition politicians and his allies that he was attempting a coup. He was warned by the police and armed forces that the route he took to try to dissolve Congress was unconstitutional and the police said they “interfered” in the performance of their duties.

Some small protests took place in the streets. In Lima, dozens of people waved Peruvian flags and chanted for the downfall of Castillo, while elsewhere in the capital and in the city of Arequipa, his supporters marched and clashed with police. One of them carried a banner that read, “Pedro, the people are with you.”

The Palace of Government and Congress in Lima was surrounded by metal barriers and dozens of police officers with plastic shields and helmets.

Third time unlucky

Peru has gone through years of political turmoil, with many leaders accused of corruption, repeated impeachment attempts, and shortened presidential terms.

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The latest legal battle began in October, when the attorney general’s office filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo for allegedly leading a “criminal organization” to profit from state contracts and obstruct investigations.

Congress summoned Castillo last week to answer charges of “moral inability” to rule.

Castillo described the allegations as a “slander” by groups seeking “to take advantage of it and seize the power that people took from it at the ballot box”.

The 53-year-old leftist teacher-turned-president had survived two previous impeachment attempts since he began his term in July 2021.

But after Wednesday’s attempt to dissolve Congress, its allies abandoned it and regional powers emphasized the need for democratic stability.

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“The United States categorically rejects any unconstitutional action by President Castillo to prevent Congress from carrying out its mandate,” the US ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna, wrote on Twitter.

The turmoil has rattled markets in the world’s second-biggest producer, though analysts said the removal of Castillo, who has battled a hostile Congress since taking power, could ultimately be a positive.

“Peruvian financial markets will suffer, but they will not collapse, mainly because of strong domestic fundamentals,” said Andres Abadia of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

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MicroStrategy is at its lowest level since 2020 after the sales were revealed

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(Bloomberg) — Shares of MicroStrategy touched their lowest level since August 2020 after the enterprise software company, which in recent years has been known as the largest buyer of bitcoin, revealed its first sale of the token.

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The stock fell 1.1 percent to $136.63 on Thursday, down 75 percent this year. Bitcoin rose less than 1% to around $16,590 and is believed to have fallen 64% since the start of the year.

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In a filing on Wednesday, MicroStrategy said it acquired approximately 2,395 Bitcoin between the beginning of November and December 21 through its subsidiary MacroStrategy, and paid out approximately $42.8 million in cash. It then sold 704 of the tokens on Dec. 22 for a total of about $11.8 million, citing tax purposes, before buying another 810 of them two days later.

Matt Malley, chief market strategist for Miller Tabak + Co. Step down as CEO. This news means they don’t seem to want to do that anytime soon.”

Overall, MicroStrategy held about 132,500 bitcoins worth over $4 billion USD as of December 27th. The company paid an average purchase price of $30,397 per bitcoin.

“Given MicroStrategy’s $2.4 billion in leverage, we believe the company may have a lot of leverage over Bitcoin, and may face some liquidity risk,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thiel wrote in a note on Wednesday. Thill has an “underperform” rating on the stock and a price target of $110.

Over the years of the pandemic, MicroStrategy has become well known for its Bitcoin takeovers, largely led by Saylor. Earlier this year, Saylor stepped down from that role and now serves as CEO at the company and continues to lead its bitcoin strategy.

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MicroStrategy was trading around $120 before Saylor first announced the company’s Bitcoin purchases in 2020. The stock reached an all-time high of $1,315 in February 2021.

(Updates to include the stock’s closing price in the second paragraph.)

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Bankman-Fried May File Petition in New York Federal Court Next Week Before Judge Louis Kaplan By Cointelegraph

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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is set to appear in court on the afternoon of January 3 to enter a lawsuit over two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to Reuters. mentioned on December 28, citing court records. Bankman-Fried will appear before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

Judge Kaplan was appointed to hear the case on December 27 after the original judge in the case, Ronnie Abrams, Resigned herself because of connections between FTX and the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her husband is a partner. The company provided advisory services to FTX in 2021.