Police document appears to implicate Peru’s president in Petrobras scandal

07 March 2016

Peruvian president Ollanta Humala

Peruvian president Ollanta Humala

An internal document leaked to the press reportedly reveals the Brazilian police are investigating Peruvian president Ollanta Humala, in connection with the Petrobras corruption case.

The 44-page document also details ongoing investigations into the activities of a former Argentine transportation minister.

According to the police document, investigators suspect Mr Humala received US$ 3 million in bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, in exchange for contracts in Peru.

The office of Brazilian judge Sergio Moro, who is presiding over the Petrobras case, refused to comment on the latest revelations. It is reported, however, that he could ask Brazil’s foreign minister to request Peruvian authorities initiate an investigation into Mr Humala’s activities.

The document reveals that police seized emails written by a former Odebrecht executive, which make reference to a US$ 3 million payment for ‘Project OH’; investigators believe this could refer to the Peruvian leader.

Odebrecht has denied any illegal payments to political parties or public authorities, and has played down the naming of Mr Humala in the document.

In a statement, Odebrecht said, “It is not a formal accusation, it is more initial evaluations based on the interpretation of notes by Brazil’s Federal Police.”

The other prominent figure named in the leaked police document is former Argentinian minister, Ricardo Jaime – currently serving a six-year jail sentence, following his conviction on fraud charges. The document alleges he was bribed by Odebrecht to offer a contract for a rail tunnel project in Buenos Aires.

Alejandro Salas, Americas director for Transparency International, said, “In the last couple years in Latin America, we have seen a boom in cases of corruption, with Petrobras being the biggest.”

“Petrobras is important,” he added, “because it shows that this kind of corruption isn’t just about one guy putting money in his pocket, but rather a system of organised crime.”

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