8 May 2019
Peru’s public prosecutor indicted former president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia for allegedly laundering assets, as part of the wide-ranging Odebrecht corruption scandal. He and his wife received over $3 million from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht for his presidential campaigns. The former president and his wife are accused of trying to hide the Odebrecht funds by depositing them in small amounts that went undetected by banks. They also hid the origin of the illegal donation by making fraudulent invoices charging for services that were never actually provided. Humala was president from 2011 to 2016.
Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has admitted to paying US$29 million in bribes in Peru between 2004 and 2015. Odebrecht investigations are going on in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Panama, Mexico, and Chile. Employees of Odebrecht had revealed the bribery payments in their plea bargain negotiations. This has made it necessary for a dozen countries to investigate the corruption allegations.
Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country in 105th place out of 180 countries. Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s ex-President, was the most corrupt politician in the history of Peru. He was in power for 10 years from 1990 to 2000.
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 US$20 million Odebrecht bribe. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski,80, president from 2016-18, was transferred to house arrest last week for up to three years.
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 as police arrived at his house to arrest him over allegations of money laundering during his time in office.
In December 2007, Fujimori was convicted of ordering an illegal search and seizure and was sentenced to six years in prison. In April 2009, Fujimori was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina death squad during his government’s battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s.
In July 2009, Fujimori was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for embezzlement after he admitted to giving $15 million from the Peruvian treasury to his intelligence service chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.
Pedro Kuczynski, his successor, resigned the presidency on 21 March 2018 following the release of videos showing alleged acts of vote buying. Business Times reported.