January 20, 2018

Former Peru president and wife linked to Odebrecht graft

Friday, July 14, 2017

Judge orders pre-trial jail for Ollanta Humala, Nadine Herrera

LIMA — A Peruvian judge last night ordered the Andean nation's former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia to be jailed for up to 18 months while prosecutors prepare formal money-laundering charges against them.

Judge Richard Concepción Carhuancho ruled in favour of a request by prosecutor Germán Juárez, who argued Humala and Heredia should be jailed before trial to prevent them from fleeing or interfering with his nearly three-year investigation.

Juárez, in the Attorney General’s Office, said in a written request he had evidence that would prove in court that the couple took illegally obtained money from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez that was used to bankroll Humala’s campaigns and for personal gain. He said the request is based on testimony provided in Brazil by the former head of Odebrecht, who said he illegally contributed US$3 million to Humala’s 2011 presidential campaign.

Concepción Carhuancho has already ordered the arrest of another former president, Alejandro Toledo, for related charges. Toledo is in the US fighting attempts by Peruvian authorities to have him deported to answer the charges.

Authorities across Latin America have been moving to charge officials accused of taking some US$800 million in bribes from Odebrecht. The company acknowledged the bribes when it signed a plea agreement in December with the US Justice Department. The bribes include some US$29 million paid in Peru for projects built during the administrations of Toledo, Humala and former President Alan García.

Humala, who governed between 2011 and 2016, has denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht. He denied any wrongdoing and called the request “surprising and abusive.”

“We’re complying with all of the prosecutor’s orders. We’ve been collaborating with the investigation because we have the biggest stake in this being cleared up,” Humala told reporters outside his home in Lima, where he spoke with Heredia alongside him.

Prosecutors suspect that Humala and his party conspired to disguise Odebrecht’s contributions, reporting them as donations from individuals who later said they had never provided any financial support to the campaign.

— Herald with AP, Reuters

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