Vicky Peláez, journalist and columnist of ImpreMedia owned El Diario/La Prensa in New York City, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), along with her husband and eight others last Sunday. She is accused by the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Manhattan of conspiring to act as agent of the Russian Federation and of money laundering.
“We do not have a position about these events, because we do not know more than what is public”, Impremedia spokeswoman Mary Zerafa told BBC Mundo.
Peláez is a Peruvian and American citizen and has worked as a political columnist for the Hispanic newspaper El Diario/La Prensa.
According to official sources Peláez is accused of working on a long term assignments in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation, a Russian intelligence program within U.S. territory.
She and her husband, Julián Lázaro, face separate charges of "conspiracy" and "money laundering", according to the Department of Justice of the United States. The investigation shows that Peláez and her husband had traveled several times to a not identified South American country. From that country the defendants transmitted "hidden messages" to the Russian authorities and "received money" in exchange for their services. After the arrest, both appeared on Monday in a federal court in Manhattan and are scheduled to appear tomorrow again.
The arrest comes weeks after Peláez wrote comments against the U.S. government and supported the idea of the use of a nuclear bomb to solve the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Friends of the Pelaez family argued that it is possible that the arrest is happening due to political reasons and discarded the “spy argument”.