Peru: Judge orders 10-day detention of ex-president Kuczynski

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is accused of accepting bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Peru's last five presidents, including Kuczynski, have either been jailed on corruption charges or are currently under investigation for fraud. [File: Mariana Baz/Reuters]

Peru’s former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has handed himself over to police after a judge on Wednesday ordered he be detained for 10 days as part of an ongoing money-laundering investigation. 

A video shared on Twitter by Peru’s Public Ministry showed Kuczynski exiting a police car accompanied by officers, reportedly to attend a medical examination, which the judge’s order requires prior to his detention. 

The order, from the Third Court of Preparatory Investigation, is also directed against Kuczynski’s former secretary Gloria Kisic Wagner and Jose Luis Bernaola Nuflo Kuczynski’s chauffeur. 

Special Prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez authorised the order, which also says that raids will be carried out on the properties of the three detainees, as well as Kuczynski’s office, with the aim of obtaining materials for the Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

Police officers were standing outside Kuczynski’s home in Lima’s financial district, a Reuters witness said. 

According to the judicial order, published by Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, prosecutors are seeking bank account information, electronic deposits, documents related to property sales, public deeds and “other objects of crime”. 

Popularly known by his initials PPK, Kuczynski led Peru for two years. He resigned last March following congressional efforts to impeach him for his alleged role in a region-wide corruption scandal.

The 80-year-old is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for lucrative government contracts awarded to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which has admitted to bribing politicians across Latin America, including in Ecuador and Brazil – where it is known as the Lava Jato or Car Wash scandal. 

Kuczynski’s lawyer Nelson Miranda called Wednesday’s order “arbitrary” in comments broadcast on local TV and said he would file an appeal. Kuczynski has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and had vowed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Odebrecht’s ties to local politicians.

Corruption has plagued Peruvian politics for decades. The country’s last five presidents, including Kuczynski, have either been jailed on corruption charges or are currently under investigation for fraud. 

Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori is also embroiled in an ongoing corruption investigation related to undeclared financial contributions to her 2011 presidential campaign. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies