Close  

Peru judge orders ex-president, wife jailed in corruption case

/ 11:45 AM July 14, 2017

Peru’s former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia stop to talk with journalists as they leave the headquarters of Peru’s National Party where they met with their lawyers, in Lima, Thursday, July 13, 2017. Prosecutors in Peru have requested the arrest of the former leader who governed Peru between 2011 and 2016 and his wife on money laundering and conspiracy charges tied to a corruption scandal involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

LIMA, Peru—A judge ordered the arrest of former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Thursday night as they face money laundering and conspiracy accusations tied to a construction scandal involving Brazilian company Odebrecht.

The preventative detention, which would keep Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia in jail for up to 18 months while they are investigated, came after prosecutors argued the couple could flee Peru to evade justice.

ADVERTISEMENT

Humala and his wife have arrived at the courthouse in Lima and turned themselves in following a judge’s ruling that they should be jailed while they are being investigated.

The couple didn’t attend the hearing Thursday evening at which the judge ordered 18 months of preventative detention during the investigation.

Humala has denied the claims, calling them baseless.

Shouts of protest could be heard in the courtroom as Judge Richard Concepcion issued his ruling.

The allegations against Humala stem from testimony by the former head of construction giant Odebrecht, who said he illegally contributed $3 million to Humala’s 2011 presidential campaign. The couple is also accused of taking undeclared funds from the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez during a previous, unsuccessful presidential bid.

Humala, who finished his term in 2016, never declared the contributions and prosecutors argue he and his wife conspired to hide them for personal gain.

The 55-year-old former leader, who didn’t attend the hearing, has denied the charges, calling them baseless. He says he looks forward to defending himself.

As the couple left their home late Thursday to drive to the courthouse with a heavy police escort, Humala said in a Tweet: “This confirms the abuse of power which we will confront in defense of our rights and those of everyone.”

He said earlier in the day that there was no need for detention because he would not flee the country

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’re staying here, we’ve even handed over our passports,” Humala said during a brief meeting with reporters who had gathered for three days outside his home. “In every moment we’ve shown our roots and good will. But the prosecutor sees everything we do in the opposite light. I think he’s been poisoned.”

The same judge previously ordered the arrest of another former Peruvian president, Alejandro Toledo, for related charges. Toledo is in the U.S. 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 $800 million in bribes from Odebrecht. The company acknowledged the bribes when it signed a plea agreement in December with the U.S. Justice Department.

The bribes include some $29 million paid in Peru for projects built during the administrations of Toledo, Humala and former President Alan Garcia.

The same scandal has ensnared former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was convicted Wednesday and sentenced to almost 10 years in jail for taking gifts from another Brazilian builder who along with Odebrecht paid bribes to politicians in exchange for government contracts. He denies the accusation and will remain free while he appeals what he says are politically motivated charges. JPV/rga

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: conspiracy, former President Ollanta Humala, Money Laundering, Peru
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.