Thursday, October 29, 2020

Odebrecht funded Peru ex-president Garcia: former chief

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Odebrecht’s former chief in Peru told corruption investigators the firm helped finance the 2006 election campaign of former Peruvian president Alan Garcia, who committed suicide last week, Peru’s public prosecutor said Tuesday.

Garcia, who was 69, shot himself dead at his home in Lima last Wednesday, as police arrived to arrest him over allegations of money laundering during his time in office.

He was suspected of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in return for large-scale public works contracts.

Peru’s public prosecutor Rafael Vela told journalists in Curitiba, Brazil, that Jorge Barata confirmed Odebrecht funded Garcia’s APRISTA party during the 2006 campaign, in which he won a second term, having already been president from 1985-90.

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According to Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, Barata said Odebrecht gave $200,000 to Garcia’s 2006 campaign through an advisor, Luis Alva Castro.

Before his suicide, Garcia insisted he was innocent.

Barata’s evidence follows a cooperation agreement signed between Odebrecht and Peru’s public prosecutor in December.

As part of the deal, Odebrecht must pay $182 million to Peru in civil reparations, an amount based on the four projects the Brazilian firm gained through paying bribes.

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The company paid $788 million in bribes throughout a dozen Latin American countries to obtain major public works contracts over a decade, according to the US Department of Justice.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying $29 million in bribes in Peru between 2005 and 2014.

Garcia was one of four Peruvian ex-presidents embroiled in various corruption scandals — alongside Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-18), Ollanta Humala (2011-16) and Alejandro Toledo (2001-06).

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