For over 2 years the former presidential couple Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia have been investigated for money laundering, bribery and corruption. On Thursday evening Judge Richard Concepcion, head of the First Preparatory Investigation Court, ordered 18 months pre-trial detention for the ex-president and his wife.
The former Peruvian president (2011 – 2016) and his wife are accused of having received bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, for the past year involved in a huge corruption scandal spanning throughout Latin America, in exchange for public work contracts including the Gasoducto Sur project, a more than 1,000 km long natural gas pipeline extending from the Peruvian jungle to the Pacific coast.
These charges seem to be valid after Marcelo Odebrecht, former Odebrecht CEO and grandson of the founder, and ex-Odebrecht executive Jorge Barata admitted to having paid the presidential couple US$ 3 million in bribes.
Additionally, for over 2 years now the Peruvian prosecuting attorney’s office investigates a huge, but unrelated money laundering and corruption scandal involving former First Lady Nadine Heredia. In October of last year Humala was officially included in the investigations and charged with money laundering, bribery, including the allegedly receipt of contributions from illegal miners, and accepting illegal election campaign donations from the Government of Venezuela and Odebrecht. The banking and tax secrecy of the former presidential couple was lifted and a judge ordered that he and his wife can’t leave Peru without permission.
Now Judge Richard Concepcion, head of the First Preparatory Investigation Court, for many surprisingly ordered 18 months pre-trial detention for the ex-president and his wife. The judge based his decision on evidence that suggests that the presidential couple is intending to obstruct justice. Furthermore, he explained that Humala and his wife are a flight risk.
After the ruling the former presidential coupled turned themselves over to authorities and spend their first night in detention at holding cells in Lima’s Justice Palace. Under heavy security Ollanta Humala was then brought to Barbadillo prison located in the National Police Special Operations Unit (Diroes) headquarter, while his wife Nadine was transported to Chorrillos women’s prison. They both now await their trial behind bars.
After an event introducing the Peruvian athletes that will participate in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski expressed his hopes for a swift judicial process for his predecessor and the former First Lady. And even though the current Head of State is sad to witness numerous former Peruvian leaders facing prosecution, he once more stressed the importance to fight corruption in Peru to the bitter end.