August, 29 2017 (Reuters)
The Peruvian attorney general’s office has opened a criminal probe into opposition leader Keiko Fujimori for allegedly laundering money for scandal-plagued Brazilian builder Odebrecht, Fujimori’s attorney said on Tuesday.
The twice-defeated right-wing presidential candidate and eldest daughter of Peru’s imprisoned former leader Alberto Fujimori denied that she or her political party ever took money from Odebrecht.
“I‘m certain the investigation will confirm that Odebrecht did not give us any money,” Fujimori said on Twitter. “I’ve always collaborated with all investigations and this will not be an exception.”
Fujimori’s lawyer, Edward Garcia, told Reuters the preliminary probe was opened in connection with notes that mention Fujimori by name that were taken by Odebrecht’s jailed former chief executive, Marcelo Odebrecht.
The attorney general’s office, which declined to comment, said on Monday it had received the contents of notes made on the cellphone of Odebrecht, but did not detail them.
Fujimori is already the subject of a money-laundering investigation related to 2016 campaign donations, but a probe in connection with Odebrecht might do more to hurt support for her and her Popular Force party, which controls a majority of seats in Congress.
Odebrecht is at the center of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal and is reviled by many in Peru since admitting late last year to having bribed local officials over a decade-long period.
News website IDL Reporteros has published what it says are notes taken by Odebrecht and confiscated by Brazilian authorities that include the phrase: “Raise Keiko to 500 and pay her a visit.”
Prosecutor German Juarez will lead the investigation into Fujimori, Garcia said.
Juarez recently persuaded local courts to jail former President Ollanta Humala for up to 18 months before trial while he is investigated for accusations of taking undeclared campaign donations from Odebrecht.
Humala narrowly defeated Fujimori during her first presidential bid in 2011. He is now sharing a prison with her father, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations and graft.