Two Brazilian newspapers reported that Peruvian prosecutors are investigating a possible paper trail of bribes paid by construction firm Odebrecht to former first lady Nadine Heredia.
Brazilian newspapers Folha de Sao Paolo and Folha Politica reported on Sunday that Peruvian prosecutors believe they have identified the dates and payments for a total of $3 million in bribes Odebrecht paid to finance former President Ollanta Humala’s election campaign.
The reports combine information from ledgers attributed to Heredia which detail Peruvian Nationalist Party finances as well as a trove of documents Brazilian law enforcement agencies seized from Odebrecht officials.
Folha de Sao Paolo reports that the money came from an Odebrecht bank account managed by Brazil’s then-Cabinet chief Antonio Palocci in 2011, during the government of ousted President Dilma Rousseff and with the alleged approval of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The report also states that Brazilian investigators have emails from Palocci which attribute a total of $3 million to “Project OH,” which they believe represent Humala’s initials. The emails came from Odebrecht’s Division of Structured Operations, which the company formally admitted to the U.S. Department of Justice was established for paying bribes to government officials.
Around the same dates as the Odebrecht documents indicate, according to the report, entries from Heredia’s ledgers list at least four deposits ranging from $30,000 to $70,000 next to the name, “Marcelo,” which authorities attribute to Odebrecht’s jailed former CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht.
“What the newspaper says, both in Brazil and [those in Peru] which have ran with this news … are based on mere assumptions, information that has not been corroborated,” Heredia’s lawyer Roy Gates told Canal N. “We don’t even know who the person is who supposedly provided this information. We are talking about wild guesses.”
Peruvian prosecutor German Juarez, however, has requested a new prohibition against international travel for both Humala and Heredia. Juarez argued before a judge that the couple posed a flight risk and provided documents showing that the couple had granted guardian rights for their children to Heredia’s sister so she would be able to leave the country with them unaccompanied by one or both parents.
Humala was ordered to post a $15,000 bond in November.
Odebrecht admitted to giving at least $29 million in illegal bribes to Peruvian officials between 2005 and 2014. The company won billions of dollars in construction contracts during Humala’s tenure.
Odebrecht paid $8.9 million to the Peruvian treasury as a gesture of goodwill in cooperating with investigators in order to continue projects currently underway.
Peru investiga se empresa fez repasse a ex-primeira-dama (Folha de S. Paulo)