Sunday, November 1, 2020

Ex-Peru president and wife indicted for Odebrecht corruption

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Peru’s public prosecutor indicted former president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia on Tuesday for allegedly laundering assets, as part of the wide-ranging Odebrecht corruption scandal.

Humala is the first former president to be indicted in relation to the affair, which has embroiled a number of other former heads of state.

Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has admitted to paying $29 million dollars in bribes in Peru between 2004 and 2015.

Attorney General German Juarez Atoche said Humala and Heredia are accused of “leading a criminal organization to launder assets.”

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The public prosecutor’s office is seeking a 20-year sentence for Humala and 26 for Heredia for “hiding real estate purchases with Odebrecht money.”

The accusations relate to the presidential election campaigns of 2006 and 2011.

Humala, 56, was president from 2011 to 2016.

He and his 42-year-old wife are accused of having received $3 million in illegal financing from Odebrecht in the electoral campaign that brought Humala to power.

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The pair spent nine months in pre-trial detention until April 2018.

Brazilian Jorge Barata, the former head of Odebrecht in Peru, told investigators he personally gave the money to Heredia.

If magistrates deem the charges sufficient, they will fix a trial date.

Two more former presidents are embroiled in the Odebrecht scandal.

Alejandro Toledo, 73, president from 2001-06, is facing extradition from the United States, having been charged with taking a $20 million Odebrecht bribe.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-18), who is 80, was last week transferred to house arrest — for up to three years — after undergoing heart surgery.

A third ex-president, Alan Garcia (1985-90 and 2006-11) died in hospital at the age of 69 after shooting himself in the head on April 17 as police arrived at his house to arrest him over allegations of money laundering during his time in office.

Odebrecht has been accused of spreading some $788 million in bribe money to a dozen countries over more than a decade to win big construction contracts.

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