Pérez's quest for evidence
1 November 2018
Pérez was assigned the case in September 2017. He really got started when, in November that year, he received evidence that Marcelo Odebrecht had written in a notebook “raise Keiko to 500”. Jorge Barata, Odebrecht’s man in Lima, then confirmed he had given 1 million dollars for her 2011 presidential campaign.
Pérez then looked into the information officially lodged with the electoral authorities and found that the numbers did not add up. When he started to interrogate those who claimed to have donated money to the party, he discovered many had not given any money and that in many cases they could have not have afforded to have done so.
The presumption was that, to avoid detection, Keiko had sought to cover her tracks by making it seem that the Odebrecht donation had in fact been made by party supporters.
In early December 2017, Pérez obtained a warrant to search the FP party offices for information. Days later he travelled to the northern San Martín region since several witnesses there were eager to testify that they had given no money but that they had simply signed papers saying that they had done so at the request of local FP congressman Rolando Reátegui.
On 28 December, Keiko denied having received any money from Odebrecht. Two months later Barata contradicted this, confirming he had given 1 million dollars in cash to her representatives Augusto Bedoya and Jorge Yoshiyama. Both had been ministers during her father’s regime. An extra 200,000 dollars was provided by the business lobby, Confiep.
With this information Pérez sought a search warrant to investigate Yoshiyama in March 2018. In April he obtained further testimony from Brazil confirming what had been said by Odebrecht and Barata.
In the months that followed, Pérez found many more witnesses, some of whom were awarded protected plea-bargain status. He also received crucial information from people being investigated who had decided to collaborate with justice. On 10 October, he was able to secure Keiko’s detention. This was for up to ten days, but on appeal she was let out after seven.
During this time, however, he amassed a wealth of new information from new witnesses and collaborators, especially from Reátegui who provided copies of the phone messages from FP’s command centre, dubbed ‘the pharmacy’. These showed in crude detail the way in which Keiko and her closest advisors controlled every move of FP legislators.
This was one of the strongest pieces of evidence produced by the prosecution, along with evidence from witnesses who alleged they had been approached by lawyers claiming to be from FP forcing them to change their statements. This was seen by the judge as a particularly worrying sign, alongside evidence that Fujimori had sought to protect disgraced Judge César Hinostroza Pariachi on condition that her case was resolved favourably.