LIMA (Reuters) – A judge ordered Peru’s former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to spend 10 days in jail and authorized a search of his properties in connection with a money-laundering probe into Brazilian builder Odebrecht, according to a judicial resolution.
Police officers were outside Kuczynski’s home in Lima’s financial district early on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said.
Kuczynski’s attorney Nelson Miranda called the order “arbitrary” in broadcast comments 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.
An 80-year-old former Wall Street banker who once held U.S. citizenship, Kuczynski narrowly won the 2016 presidential election but resigned a year ago in the face of near-certain impeachment by the opposition-controlled Congress.
Kuczynski has blamed his ouster on a plot by opposition party Popular Force, whose leader Keiko Fujimori was jailed before trial in connection with Odebrecht last year on charges that she denies.
Peruvian judges have authorized several politicians, including two other former presidents, to be jailed before trial since Odebrecht admitted in late 2017 that it had secured lucrative government contracts across Latin America by bribing high-ranking politicians.
In Peru, criminal suspects can be jailed without trial for up to three years if prosecutors can show they have evidence that would likely lead to a conviction and that the suspects would likely try to flee or obstruct their work.
“It’s an abusive detention order,” Gilbert Violeta, a lawmaker in the political party Kuczynski formed, said in an interview with local TV channel Canal N. “There’s no flight risk.”
(Reporting By Mitra Taj and Guadalupe Pardo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)