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  • Vice President Martin Vizcarra enters the Peruvian congress building to be sworn in as President in Lima, Peru, Mar. 23, 2018.

    Vice President Martin Vizcarra enters the Peruvian congress building to be sworn in as President in Lima, Peru, Mar. 23, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 February 2019
Opinion

Peru's top lawyers in the case against Odebrecht begin questioning Peru state officials in Brazil in a quest to prosecute several former Peruvian presidents.

Peru’s lead prosecutors in the case against Brazilian construction company Odebrecht will begin questioning over 20 former Peruvian government officials and Odebrecht executives in Brazil Monday about their connection to dozens of cases of illicit contracts with the construction company in exchange for monetary bribes.

RELATED:
 Peru: Bowing to Pressure, Attorney General Reinstates Lead Odebrecht Prosecutors

Last Friday, members of Peru’s consulate in Brazil signed a deal that would allow Peruvian and Brazilian investigators to question some 23 former Peruvian government officials and Odebrecht executives who worked in Brazil about their alleged connection to illegal Odebrechtconstruction contracts they oversaw in exchange for tens of millions of dollars over a 20-year period.

Peru’s lead state lawyers in the case, Rafael Vela and Jose Domingo Perez, will begin taking testimonies from former Odebrecht executives Marcos Grillo, and former state workers, Jose Spinola and Luiz de Castro Santos at Brazil’s attorney general's office in Curitiba.

The three are implicated in two contracts from 2011; one to build Line 1 of the Lima Metro under two-term President Alan Garcia and the other for the Interoceanic Highway under former head of state Alejandro Toledo. The lawyers hope to gather pertinent information from these officials in order to prosecute Garcia and Toledo who are being accused of taking in US$10 million and US$20 million respectively in exchange for the major infrastructure projects.  

The opposition legislator and former presidential candidate, Keiko Fujimori and former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was impeached last year, are also being accused of taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company. Kuczynski was replaced by Martin Vizcarra, his vice president, who has said that the widespread investigation will “shake up (Peru’s stability), but in a good way that will also increase transparency and honesty that Peruvians demand."

RELATED:
 Peru Officials To Testify in Odebrecht Case in Brazil

The investigations by Peru’s lawyers in Brazil were supposed to begin Jan. 15 but were hampered when former attorney general to Peru, Pedro Chavarry, took Vela and Perez off their jobs in late December saying they were "abusing" their power.

His move came days after the pair formally accused the top state attorney of “obstructing” their case against Fujimori. Chavarry reinstated them two days later after tremendous national pressure from public demonstrators and high-ranking government officials. Chavarry himself finally resigned and is being investigated by Vela and Perez in connection to Fujimori’s receiving US$1.2 million from the Brazil-based construction company for her 2011 presidential run. He has been ordered to not leave the country.

Odebrecht in Brazil agreed to cooperate with Peru's prosecutors in mid-December, just after Peru allowed the company to continue to operate in the country in exchange for a US$200 million fine to be paid over 15 years. 

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