Keiko Fujimori walked into Congress at 9:30 AM today to appear in front of a Congress-appointed commission, due to alleged links to Brazilian company Odebrecht.
Fujimori, an ex-presidential candidate and leader of right-wing political party Fuerza Popular, has been implicated in the Lava Jato investigation of the Odebrecht scandal. A note stating “aumentar keiko para 500 e eu fazer visita” (Raise Keiko to 500 and pay a visit) was found by forensics experts in the phone Marcelo Odebrecht had on him at the moment of his arrest, in June 2015.
The commission seeks to clarify the meaning of the note, as part of the large-scale corruption and money-laundering investigation currently in progress.
Throughout the hearing, Mrs. Fujimori maintained her claim of innocence, stressing money from Odebrecht or its subsidiaries has never reached her pockets or the coffers of her political party and that the note was merely a plan she never had any involvement in.
Mrs. Fujimori denied having privately met Marcelo Odebrecht or Jorge Barata, ex-representative of Odebrecht in Peru and key witness to the case who confessed to doling out over $3 million USD in bribes and cash donations to political campaigns.
She pointed out that incumbent president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski did maintain relations with Odebrecht officers during the 2016 campaign, as members of a non-profit organization. As her own political party’s finances are under scrutiny due to a parallel investigation on money laundering via fundraising parties during the 2016 campaign, she commented their fundraisers were not very successful but that “Kuczynski’s campaign was even more expensive; he had fundraising parties as well.”
She proceeded to disclose her limited income comes strictly from a $12.500 soles ($3850 USD) monthly salary paid by her political party, complemented by revenue from her husband’s business endeavors that are in a similar range.
Desconozco las intenciones que tuvo el Sr. Marcelo Odebrecht, pero conmigo JAMÁS tuvo una reunión. (1/5)
— Keiko Fujimori (@KeikoFujimori) 24 de junio de 2017
A series of tweets by Keiko Fujimori denied she ever met Mr. Odebrecht nor Mr. Barata privately, stressing that neither her nor Fuerza Publica received money from the Brazilian conglomerate.
Congresswoman Rosa Bartra, also affiliated to Fuerza Popular, presides the commission. Two weeks earlier, Bartra stated that Fujimori was not yet a subject of investigation. In an unexpected turn of events, Mrs. Fujimori was notified only two days ago to appear in front of the commission, leaving little time for congress members and prosecuting authorities to prepare questions and interventions.
Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who currently serves a 25-year prison sentence after being found guilty of human rights violations related to the Barrios Altos massacre, including manslaughter and kidnapping.
Marcelo Odebrecht, head of the biggest construction conglomerate in South America, is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence in Brazil after pleading guilty to paying more than $30 million USD to Petrobras officials, in a corruption and money-laundering scheme to gain favors and contracts that touched Switzerland, the U.S., and Brazil. Odebrecht’s kickback schemes have deep roots in the Americas: at least 10 Latin American countries have triggered judicial processes in relation to the company’s misdeeds.
In Peru, Odebrecht is suspected of engaging in bribery and money laundering to influence presidential elections and to access some of the infrastructure projects it participated in, including the Lima Metro line 1, among other crimes. Odebrecht has handed out an estimated $29 million USD in bribes to Peruvian officials over the last three administrations, DW reports.
Odebrecht stated during an interrogation by the prosecution authorities of Peru that “[we at Odebrecht] surely provided [financial] support during the 2011 elections; we must have supported Keiko […] and, as usual, we also supported the leading candidates.” The last two presidents of Peru, Alan García and Ollanta Humala, are also under investigation, and now President Kuczynski is under preliminary screening by the authorities.
Marcelo Odebrecht’s notes, which along with incriminating statements have led to Keiko Fujimori being brought in for questioning. Source: IDL-Reporteros