July 21, 2018 / 7:23 PM / 8 months ago

New Peru justice minister takes office after scandal

New Justice Minister Vicente Zeballos attends a swearing-in ceremony at the government palace in Lima, Peru July 21, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian lawmaker Vicente Zeballos took over as justice minister on Saturday, a week after his predecessor Salvador Heresi was fired in an influence-peddling scandal that has shaken the country’s judiciary.

Zeballos will be responsible for an overhaul of the judicial system announced by President Martin Vizcarra after audio recordings published in local media appeared to show judges making arrangements to help criminals and swap favors with politicians and businessmen.

Heresi has denied wrongdoing.

Zeballos, a 55-year-old lawyer, left the ruling Peruvians for Change party last year after former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned former strongman Alberto Fujimori, who was accused of corruption and human rights violations during his rule in the 1990s.

Reporting by María Cervantes; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by James Dalgleish

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