Opposition politician in Peru implicated in Brazil’s Operation Car Wash

World Today

Opposition politician in Peru implicated in Brazil's Operation Car Wash

A corruption scandal that is rocking South America is getting wider.

Three former Peruvian presidents have already been implicated in Operation Car Wash, a criminal investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil. Now, investigators are also looking at the leader of Peru’s opposition party.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns has details.

The corruption scandal over the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht has spilled over into Peru. But rather than causing ripples it’s creating waves in Peruvian politics.

Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori is the latest figure to be put under scrutiny.  Investigators found a note stored in the telephone of the company’s jailed former boss Marcelo Odebrecht which appears to show he was making payments to Fujimori.

Fujimori – the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori who remains jailed for graft and human rights abuses – denies the allegations, as does her party, which has a majority in Peru’s congress.

“Keiko Fujimori and the Popular Force party have not received–I repeat–never received one cent from a Brazilian company, especially the firm Odebrecht,” declared Luis Galarreta, President of the Peruvian Congress and a member of Fujimori’s party.

Marcelo Odebrecht has already admitted his company paid millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts across Latin America as well as pouring money into political campaigns – usually backing any candidate who had a chance of winning.

The payments referred to in the telephone message allegedly favored Fujimori’s unsuccessful 2011 election campaign. The winner of the 2011 election, Ollanta Humala, has been jailed for 18 months in pre-trial detention, for allegedly receiving a $3 million campaign donation.

The allegations were uncovered by investigative journalist Gustavo Gorriti.

“Marcelo Odebrecht said, ‘Give more to Keiko,’ which one might assume meant to give more than three million,” said Gorriti, the director of IDL Reporteros. “Now whether that was actually carried out in practice, or even whether the money was given to Humala himself, is still an open question that needs to be proved.”

Former leader Alejandro Toledo is in the U.S. where he is fighting extradition to Peru on charges he allegedly taking bribes from the Brazilian firm.  A third former Peruvian president, Alan Garcia, is also under investigation.