Senior businessmen jailed, Fuerza Popular offices raided
10 December 2017
Last week’s extraordinary developments began late on Sunday 3 December when Public Prosecutor Richard Concepción Carhuancho sent to jail five of Peru’s most prominent businessmen. As we reported last week, this decision was taken because of bribes made by the main Peruvian construction companies to cover their part of the bribes paid by Brazilian-led consortia to win government contracts. Peruvian law allows for a ‘preventive jail sentence’ that ensure that those accused (but not yet tried) do not flee the country, destroy evidence or impede the progress of a judicial investigation.
Many observers have commented that this decision (which is the same reason why Ollanta Humala and Nadine Heredia have been in jail for months) was disproportionate, and may have been a response to the constitutional accusation levelled against Sánchez for allegedly holding back on investigating the Odebrecht’s Peruvian partners. Commenting on the timing, Gustavo Gorriti says that most of the information presented had been known since at least last July and that the move was excessive in its severity.
The situation turned even more explosive when two offices of Fuerza Popular (FP) were raided under a warrant from the Public Prosecutor’s office over indications that Keiko Fujimori’s party had been operating a double accounting system, presenting one set of financial records to the judiciary but retaining other ledgers. This move took the Fujimoristas by surprise since only the day before they had been celebrating their supposed success in pushing for the arrest of the construction executives. The judicial authorities are now revising more that 20,000 folios. Keiko Fujimori denies any wrongdoing.