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The World | IN BRIEF / AND FINALLY ...

Even if It Was Decaf, Jitters Seem Likely

September 19, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Former Peruvian spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos is not only accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars, but he might have spilled the world's priciest cup of coffee, a state attorney said.

"One time, Montesinos lost $1 million when he carelessly spilled his cup of coffee on a bank certificate, which was ruined. From then on, he put his money in bank accounts," said Luis Vargas, who heads the case against Montesinos. In Peru, bank certificates are used like cash and cannot be replaced.

Montesinos is accused of piling up an illegal fortune of more than $250 million. Vargas said the coffee accident was one reason Montesinos began depositing ill-obtained money in bank accounts.

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