1683947552 Peru prosecutors seek 35 years in prison for former President

Peru prosecutors seek 35 years in prison for former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski over ‘Odebrecht case’

Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the time of his arrest in 2019.Former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the time of his arrest in 2019. LUKA GONZALES (AFP)

In a country like Peru, where the majority of leaders suffer the fate of ending up behind bars, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tried to use his professional career as a guarantee of his honor. “You have destroyed the reputation of a man who has worked for 60 years (…) It really makes my heart cry,” he said in April 2019 at a hearing about a request for 36 months of preventive detention went against him to be enacted. The economist resigned from the presidency of the republic a year ago, but he has been under investigation since 2017 for the alleged crime of money laundering to the detriment of the state. According to the tax thesis, during his time as minister, PPK, as it is colloquially known, favored the Brazilian construction group Odebrecht and its affiliated companies with the concession of various construction works in exchange for multimillion-dollar bribes, which the latter collected through consulting and advisory services during the tenure of Alejandro Toledo between 2001 and 2006.

Eventually, PPK was placed under house arrest, a measure he followed until July 2022 when the judiciary modified it with restrictions. Over the years that the case has progressed, PPK has made headlines because of his medical condition. In 2019, she was fitted with a pacemaker due to heart failure. The following year he was admitted to a clinic for chronic sinusitis and admitted for pneumonia in 2022. At the time, his daughter Alexandra Kuczynski was imploring Peruvian justice for humanity, claiming that a sick man in his 80s could not escape. “He won’t be able to survive prison. “It would be a death sentence,” he said.

This Friday, the prosecutor of the special team in the Lava Jato case in Peru sought a 35-year sentence for the former leader of the political group Peruanos Por el Kambio on money laundering charges, with the aggravating circumstance of having established an alleged criminal organization that would have been from Odebrecht Raised more than $12 million. The Chilean businessman and PPK partner Gerardo Sepúlveda is also included in the tax charge, for whom 35 years are also being demanded. PPK’s secretary and right-hand man, Gloria Kisic, was given 23 years and 11 years and six months for its driver, José Luis Bernaola.

Julio Midolo, lawyer for the economist who ruled Peru between 2016 and the first quarter of 2018, said his client took the news calmly and was confident he would get away with it. “Mr. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is aware of the information. He’s very calm and trusts that by the end of his whole case we’ll prove his complete innocence. The line of defense is the same that we proposed from the beginning (…) They have no evidence to suggest money laundering,” Midolo explained.

Jorge Barata, a former director of Odebrecht, claimed to have donated money to the PPK’s 2011 presidential campaign. A fact that the former president has repeatedly denied. On the other hand, he was constitutionally charged in 2021 for pardoning former President Alberto Fujimori in 2017, but the lawsuit was filed. The last known thing about PPK was last February when he gave his opinion on the protests the current government is facing. “All this chaos has destroyed most of the political parties in Peru (…) there must be an explanation why we appear as a civilized country and not as a country of massacres,” he said again, without losing his honor.

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