Former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia were ordered remain in pre-trial detention by a Lima court this past Friday for money laundering.
The alleged crimes of Humala and Heredia are related to allegations of receiving $ 3 million from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht as part of his 2011 election campaign. Humala was subsequently elected president.
The allegations came to light because Jorge Barata, former representative of Odebrecht in Peru, told a group of Peruvian prosecutors who travelled to Brazil to question him about a 2010 telephone call in which Marcelo Odebrecht ordered him to makes donations to the Nationalist Party – Humala’s political party. The efforts were allegedly made at the request of then Brazilian President Lula da Silva who wanted Humala to win Peru’s election.
The testimony of Barata was later confirmed by Marcelo Odebrecht. A brief from the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil states that, according to the construction company, “the Odebrecht Group, at the request of Antonio Palocci Filho, would have sent, through the Structured Operations Department [the Odebrecht unit responsible for administering bribes ], $3 million to the candidate for the Presidency of Peru Ollanta Humala. “
Prosecutor Germán Juárez Atoche has investigated the case for three years now, but so far he has not filed an indictment against Humala and Heredia. In spite of this, three weeks ago he filed for pre-trial detention, which was finally accepted. Among the information he provided are documents on the transfer of money between the account of the Nationalist Party and Nadine Heredia. Because they were crimes before assuming the presidency, Humala – who ruled until July 2016 – is not covered by the right to a preliminary hearing before being detained.
“Here we have a president who came to power and ruled through an electoral campaign based on illicit money, which is serious because it hurts society morally,” prosecutor Juarez said.
Humala was sent to the Barbadillo prison, where former President Alberto Fujimori is also being held. Heredia was taken to the annex of the Chorrillos prison, the only one for women in Lima.
Humala and Heredia’s lawyer said that the court should force prosecutors to either issue an indictment or release his clients.