Three non-commissioned officers were detained on charges of treachery and disobedience last year after allegedly selling intelligence, Peru’s military police chief Juan Ramos confirmed Thursday, following an exposé by the America Noticias news channel.
“With an accusation of this nature, it’s very serious for bilateral relations between Peru and Chile,” Humala told reporters in comments published by El Comercio.
Chile’s foreign ministry said it hadn't received official information regarding espionage, according to government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde.
Johnny Philco, Alfredo Dominguez and Alberto Gonzales are accused of delivering classified information to agents abroad, Ramos said.
“In the case of Philco it was between 2005 and 2012; in the case of Dominguez, between 2011 and 2012; and the third case, that of Gonzales, between 2010 and 2012,” said Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano.
“They are events that took place in the past administration and in two cases extend to the current government,” Cateriano added.
Philco was arrested in August with a year detention pending trial, and may have left Peru 11 times between 2008 and 2013 to Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, Ramos said.
Noticias said it would reveal more about those involved in the coming days, deepening prospects for controversy.
Dominguez was arrested last February and could have traveled four times to Brazil, Ramos said. He sold fishing intelligence to a transnational company for $200, according to the dispatch by Noticias.
Gonzales was arrested in November and traveled to Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
While the men face 25-year prison sentences, the revelations risk unraveling bilateral relations that have improved in recent years under the Humala and Michelle Bachelet governments.
Last year, Peru and Chile complied with a UN ruling to define maritime borders. After decades of dispute, judges at The Hague awarded Peru parts of the Pacific Ocean, though rich fishing areas remained Chilean.
Both sides' desire to abide by the ruling was heralded as a breakthrough after a diplomatic rift, following a 19th century war between the sides, long marked ties between the Andean neighbors.