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News > Peru

Peru: Former President Kuczynski Arrested for Alleged Falsified Odebrecht Payments

  • Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (center) salutes after leaving the headquarters of Legal Medicine after his arrest Wednesday in Lima, Peru.

    Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (center) salutes after leaving the headquarters of Legal Medicine after his arrest Wednesday in Lima, Peru. | Photo: EFE

Published 11 April 2019

Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said his detention "is arbitrary."

Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested Wednesday for allegedly receiving unlawful payments of more than US$1 million from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Peru: Judges Order Arrest of Former President Kuczynski

According to a document of the judicial decision revealed by Channel N, Judge Jorge Luis Chavez, the head of the third National Preparatory Investigation Court that accepted an order for ten-day preliminary detention presented by the prosecutor, Jose Domingo Perez.

According to the judge, Kuczynski would have favored deposits for more than one million dollars delivered by Odebrecht through his company Westfield Capital.

That money was allegedly delivered in several deposits for simulated consultations after a contract signed in 2005 when Kuczynski was Economy Minister of the government of Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006).

The Public Ministry cites "acts of money laundering" by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the IIRSA Interoceanic Corridor Projects, Sections 2 and 3 and the Irrigation and Hydroelectric Olmos Project, according to the resolution to which La Republica newspaper had access.

Kuczynski allegedly used the money to cover personal expenses, including the purchase of his luxurious house in the Lima residential district of San Isidro and for credit card payments.

The magistrate added that the preliminary detention for 10 days was ordered because the former president "would try to hide evidence" and influence the accountant Denise Hernandez, "who at the time was a junior staff of the company Westfield Capital."

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Channel N explained that Hernandez, who is a U.S. citizen living in Florida, is considered "a key person" in the investigation since it appears in the constitution of First Capital, another Kuczynski company.

Chavez maintained that the alleged maneuver of the ex-governor to influence his former employee on the delivery of accounting information is "an obstacle" in the investigation.

The document with the arguments of Judge Chavez was revealed hours after Peru's prime minister, Salvador del Solar, said it was "essential" to know the reasons for ordering the preliminary arrest of the former president.

Del Solar was the first representative of President Martin Vizcarra’s government to speak out after the former governor's arrest as a result of the investigation due to his links with Odebrecht.

Vizcarra was Kuczynski's vice-president until he resigned in March 2018 to avoid being dismissed by the Congress -- dominated by the political ideology of former president Alberto Fujimori -- for his links with Odebrecht. Del Solar was Minister of Culture but resigned after Fujimori was pardoned

Kuczynski, 80, was transferred Wednesday by the National Police from his home in San Isidro to the headquarters of Legal Medicine and then passed the identity control mandated by Peruvian law in the building of the Judiciary.

He was then taken to the prefecture headquarters in the historic center of Lima where he will comply with the arrest warrant issued by Judge Chavez.

While he was being transferred to the police offices, Kuczynski posted on Twitter that his detention "is arbitrary" and that he has collaborated "absolutely with all the investigations and attended promptly to all the summonses of the judicial authorities."

Kuczynski admitted that he faces "a very hard moment" but stressed that he will do it "with the integrity of the one who only had the desire to have a better country."

His defense lawyer, Cesar Nakasaki, announced that he will appeal the arrest, which also extended to his former secretary Gloria Kisic and his assistant Jose Luis Bernaola, and included the search and seizure of his property and office.

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