Former Peruvian President jailed

Former Peruvian President jailed
By Euronews

Ollanta Humala, President of Peru until 2016, has been jailed along with his wife amidst concerns that they might flee the country ahead of their trial on money laundering charges.

Ollanta Humala was President of Peru until 2016 but now faces jail for up to 18 months ahead of his trial for money-laundering charges. Judge Richard Concepcion agreed with the prosecutor that Humala and his wife, who has also been imprisoned, might attempt to flee the country or interfere with the investigation against them.

Humala defiant

The former President denies all the charges against him and dismissed all suggestion that he would not cooperate. Speaking as he drove himself into custody, Humala said: “our lawyers have handed over our passports. At all times, we’ve shown good will, but for the prosecutor, everything we do is the opposite. I think that man is poisoned.” He took to twitter to describe the decision as an “abuse of power”.

Protesters gathered outside the court to protest against the judge’s decision. Humala had risen to power with the support of ordinary people who saw him as an antidote to the right-wing government of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who ruled in the 1990s, and who has been serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations and graft since 2007.

Wider corruption

The investigation into allegations that Humala profited from illegally-obtained funds given to him by the late Venezualan President, Hugo Chavez, and by two big construction companies, Odebrecht SA and OAS SA, that have been caught up in the far-reaching Operation Car Wash scandal in Brazil. Prosecutor German Juarez said that the money from Odebrecht and OAS was the product of corruption, and that funds from Venezuela were pilfered from that country’s treasury. In December, Odebrecht acknowledged that it had paid bribes across Latin America for over a decade.

The former President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has just been sentenced to ten years in prison for corruption.

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