In the latest development in the Odebrecht scandal, Latin America’s corporate corruption scandal, a public prosecutor has opened a criminal probe into Peru’s former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, implicating her in laundering money in the Odebrecht case.
Daughter of Peruvian Dictator Faces Corruption Investigation
Attorney General Pablo Sanchez said Monday that a note found on the mobile phone of the former president of the Brazilian construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht, implicates Fujimori.
The note, confiscated by Brazilian authorities, includes the phrase, "Raise Keiko to 500 and pay her a visit." Sanchez said that was enough proof to probe further.
The prosecutor’s office had earlier said that Marcelo Odebrecht asked the director of his company in Peru, Jorge Barata, to increase support for Keiko Fujimori’s 2011 presidential campaign.
The region’s largest construction conglomerate came to the spotlight when dozens of its executives confessed to bribing state and corporate actors for receiving construction contracts in at least 10 Latin American countries, including Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
The construction company is said to have doled a staggering US$800 million in bribes to several organizations and individuals between 2001 and 2016.
Defending herself, Fujimori said on Twitter Tuesday, "I say this for the umpteenth time: neither the Popular Force nor I have received money from Odebrecht."
The twice-defeated right-wing presidential candidate said she has "always collaborated with all the investigations and this will not be the exception" and that the investigation would prove her innocence and "will confirm that Odebrecht did not give us money."
Fujimori, the daughter of the jailed Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori, is already facing a corruption probe from February for her alleged involvement in money laundering in a business deal.
In an audiotape recording given to the DEA by a U.S.-based Peruvian pilot, Jesus Francisco Vasquez, former Congressman Joaquin Ramirez also one of the financiers of Fujimori’s campaign is heard saying that Fujimori gave him US$15 million which he laundered in his businesses.
In Peru, the Odebrecht case focuses on tracing the US$29 million that the Brazilian company admitted in U.S. court that it had paid in bribes to Peruvian officials in exchange for awarding million-dollar projects between 2005 and 2014.