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  • Martin Vizcarra speaks after being sworn in as Peru's President at the congress building in Lima, Peru, Mar. 23, 2018.

    Martin Vizcarra speaks after being sworn in as Peru's President at the congress building in Lima, Peru, Mar. 23, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 December 2018

Peru’s national attorney general is accused of “obstruction of justice” in the Odebrecht corruption case by lawyers leading the far-reaching Lava Jato scandal.

Peru’s national attorney general is being accused of “obstruction of justice” in the Odebrecht corruption case by provincial prosecutors leading the Lava Jato case that involves dozens of current and former high-ranking officials, including former Peruvian presidents Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), Alan Garcia (1985-1990, 2006-2011) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018).

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Provincial-level public prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez, who leads the Lava Jato case in Peru formally accused Attorney General Pedro Chavarry of "obstructing effective collaboration" between special prosecutors and the Brazilian corporation under investigation in Peru since last August for paying millions in kickbacks over the past 20 years to former officials in return for construction contracts.

In an 11-page document, Perez asks that Chavarry’s own attorney general's office investigate him for the alleged cover ups. Some analysts say this accusation isn't valid because Perez is a lower ranking judge than Chavarry, who works at the federal level. Specifically, Perez says the attorney general is trying to derail the case he is building regarding the paying off of former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and former President Alan Garcia by Odebrecht officials.

Chavarry tweeted Wednesday that the accusation against him lacked "criminal legal support" and was entirely "subjective."

There are four federal complaints against Chavarry for violating Peru’s constitution but each has been blocked by Keiko Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular coalition that holds a parliamentary majority. Legislator Fujimori was ordered to 36 months of preventative detention in mid-November while Perez investigates her potential receipt of US$1.2 million from Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

In August, a Fuerza Popular legislator told reporters that it was a “matter of survival” for his coalition that Chavarry remain in his post. Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, who has been cracking down on corruption after he was named head of state last March when Kuczynski was found ‘unfit’ to preside, said last Friday that the attorney general "is not the best person" for the job.

Prosecutor Perez and his colleague Rafael Vela revealed two weeks ago that they were being "permanently harassed" by unnamed higher-ups and said they would quit the team if it didn’t end.

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Vizcarra came out in support of the Odebrecht investigators: "The Executive gives full support (to the Lava Jato case team), respects the independence of powers and we ask that prosecutors remain in their positions until their investigations are concluded," the president told local media.

Last week Peruvian and Brazilian prosecutors said they reached a deal with Odebrecht executives where Brazilian prosecutors will interrogate 23 former Peruvian government officials and Odebrecht execs with connection to over 50 illicit contracts. The testimonies will be taken between Jan. 14 and 23 in Curitiba.

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