Peruvian Justice Minister, Gustavo Adrianzen, two days before his impeachment vote in the congress, resigned on Tuesday, after he dismissed a prosecutor who had been investigating a case linked to the first lady, Nadine Heredia.
Adrianzen defended the decision by saying prosecutor Julia Principe had spoken to the media without permission, Principe had stated that there was more than enough evidence to investigate Heredia for money laundering.
"That's the fundamental reason why the decision was made," Adrianzen said. "Following the law is not a technical detail."
Principe was fired through a decree published in Peru’s official state newspaper El Peruano, the decree was signed by Heredia’s husband, President Ollanta Humala, Justice Minister, Gustavo Adrianzen, Cabinet Chief Pedro Cateriano and Interior Minister, Jose Luis Perez.
Speaking to the media, Principe said she believed she was dismissed because her work had made the government “uncomfortable."
Julia Principe, a money laundering specialist, had been probing the authenticity of notebooks holding logs of shady payments that opposition lawmakers said belonged to the first lady.
Heredia, the head of Humala's Nationalist Party, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, claiming the notebooks didn’t belong to her.
The controversy comes amid Humala’s popularity continues to decrease, as the end of his five-year term approaches, as does the 2016 presidential elections.
Presidents in Peru are prohibited from running consecutive terms, while close family members of a president in office are also barred from running.
If that provision is overturned, which is currently being examined by congress and the electoral court, political experts expect Heredia to run for president.