Former Odebrecht official confirms payments to four former Peruvian presidents

World Today

Former Odebrecht official confirms payments to four former Peruvian presidents

A former Odebrecht official says he made multi-million-dollar contributions to the campaigns of four former presidents in Peru.

Jorge Barata is testifying in Brazil, as part of the on-going corruption probe of the construction giant.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns has details.

Odebrecht’s former chief in Peru, Jorge Barata, told Peruvian prosecutors who paid who, and how much, and under oath in the Brazilian city of Curitiba. Testifying as part of a plea deal, Barata confirmed many of the allegations against four former presidents and other political figures.

“The public prosecutor’s office is satisfied because our theories are being verified through the testimonies and documents which have been provided by the company,” said the lead prosecutor in the investigation, Rafael Vela.

The company’s former chief is reported to have paid more than $4 million dollars to a former aide to President Alan Garcia between 2006 and 2011. Garcia killed himself with a gunshot to the head last week when police came to arrest him. One of four former presidents investigated for taking multi-million dollar bribes, he had insisted he was innocent before his suicide.

Peru has gone further than any other country except Brazil in investigating the corruption spread by construction companies like Odebrecht. A new generation of prosecutors is investigating almost every Peruvian leader over the last twenty years. They say that, tragic though it was, Garcia’s suicide will not stop them.

Alejandro Toledo, who was president before Garcia’s most recent term, is fighting extradition from the United States, accused of accepting some $20 million in bribes.

Ex-president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine served nine months in preventive detention. 80-year-old Pedro Pablo Kuczynski escaped preventive detention because of poor health but will spend three years under house arrest as prosecutors prepare charges. 

“We have taken hold of the standard against corruption since our government took office and we will not let it go,” said Peru’s current President Martin Vizcarra.  “That’s why we ask state legislators, Congress, and the judiciary to work together with our citizens to wipe out corruption.”

As part of a cooperation deal signed last year, Odebrecht must pay Peru tens of millions of dollars in compensation and its executives must testify under oath. The process has already sent shockwaves through Peru’s political class and it’s not over yet.