Alan Garcia faces the music
17 November 2018
On 15 November, ex-president Alan García presented his declaration on the cases of the Lima Metro Line 1, his alleged links to Odebrecht and the alleged payments he received from the now infamous ‘Caja 2’. This was the account through which bribery payments were made. He now faces the possibility of being barred from travelling outside Peru.
García attended the office of Prosecutor José Domingo Pérez for only ten minutes, having travelled all the way from Madrid. At that point the procedure was halted as Pérez decided he had enough evidence to widen the scope of the investigation to one of collusion and money laundering.
Pérez also asked Judge Juan Carlos Sánchez Balbuena to award a measure restricting Garcia’s right to leave Peru. He argued that García travelled frequently and there was a real risk of him leaving the country and thus escaping justice. He also noted that García would be required to present further testimony as the investigation advances.
This represents a huge reverse for García. Up to now he has not had to face really tough questioning from the prosecutor’s office; indeed he has been treated with kid gloves. He now faces an independent-minded prosecutor, armed with information provided in Brazil by Odebrecht sources.
García is in further trouble because it has emerged that he was paid US$100,000 for a 2012 conference he attended in Sao Paulo with top members of Brazil’s industrial elite. García claims that this was all done legally; he had already left office by this time and he says he declared the income and paid tax on it.
But it is evident that this money came from Caja 2. Also, García claimed to have received the money at a different date and used the services of a Brazilian lawyer firm to organize payment. This, Pérez believes, indicates that he was aware of the illicit origin of the funds.
García has responded by instructing his lawyer to say he will take part in all the judicial sessions he is required to attend and that he has never so far failed to turn up.
Sánchez Balbuena was expected to give his verdict in a hearing set for 17 November. As we went to press, it was still unclear what he would decide.
Sánchez has judged the cases of former Lima mayor Susana Villarán and former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski; both are under investigation and both are barred from leaving the country. He specializes in corruption of officials. He also judged the case of Miguel Ayala Herrera, vice-president of the national petroleum company who opened a bank account in Andorra with US$1.3 million given to him by Odebrecht in 2007 during the Garcia administration.