Sunday, October 24, 2021

Peruvian ex-president, first lady charged with money laundering

Lima, May 7 (EFE).- Peruvian former President Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia, were charged Tuesday with money laundering in connection with the receipt of illegal campaign contributions from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Prosecutor German Juarez presented the 1,500-page indictment before a national court in Lima.

The Peruvian Nationalist Party, founded and led by Humala and Heredia, is also charged in the case and the Attorney General’s Office “is seeking the dissolution of that party,” Juarez told reporters outside the courtroom.

The couple became the target of an investigation after Marcelo Odebrecht, owner of the construction giant at the center of a vast international corruption case, said he had contributed $3 million to Humala’s successful 2011 presidential campaign.

In 2014, the Humala administration awarded a consortium made up of Odebrecht, Spain’s Enagas and Peru’s Graña y Montero a contract to build the Southern Peruvian Gas Pipeline.

Humala and Heredia were released last year after spending nine months in preventive detention pending completion of the money laundering probe.

In February, former Odebrecht executive Raymundo Trindade Serra told Peruvian authorities that he personally witnessed the company’s then-representative in Peru, Jorge Barata, deliver $1 million to Heredia for her husband’s 2011 campaign.

Odebrecht and Sao Paulo-based petrochemical company Braskem reached a settlement in December 2016 with the US Department of Justice in which they pleaded guilty to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world.

The companies agreed to pay a combined total penalty of at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges with authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland arising out of those schemes.

Odebrecht paid $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials between 2005 and 2014, a period of time that spans the administrations of three presidents: Alejandro Toledo, 2001 to 2006; Alan Garcia, 2006 to 2011; and Humala.

On April 16, Garcia shot himself when police came to his home to take him into custody on Odebrecht-related charges. The former president later died on the operating table at a Lima hospital.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who served in Toledo’s administration, resigned the presidency in March 2018 over allegations he lied to Congress about more than $782,000 that a financial-consulting business he owned, Miami-based Westfield Capital Ltd., received between 2004 and 2007 from Odebrecht.

Kuczynski is under criminal investigation and Toledo – who lives in the United States – has been indicted in the Odebrecht case.
EFE