Garcia named in Brazil testimony

07 May 2017

The figure of former president Alan García has taken something of a back-seat in the scandals surrounding bribery by Brazilian construction firms in the last three months. The media has focused primarily on former presidents Alejandro Toledo and Ollanta Humala. The former is now the subject of two extradition requests submitted by the Peruvian authorities to the United States; the latter is the centre of swirling rumours about the role played by Odebrecht in helping fund his 2011 election campaign to the tune of US$3 million.

But García, who has all along claimed innocence of any wrongdoing, has been identified as the key contact by a number of former Brazilian construction executives in securing major contracts in Peru. The Peruvian public prosecutor involved in investigating the Lava Jato bribery scandals is requesting that the Brazilian judges forward the relevant documentation for his perusal.

According to testimony from Antunes Sobrinho and José Gilberto Azevedo Branco Valentim to Judge Sergio Moro, García played a crucial role in securing contracts. The former was from the Engevix construction firm and the latter Galvão Engenharia. The nexus was the former Brazilian prime minister, José Dirceu, who appears to have enjoyed a privileged relationship with García in providing consultancy services, not least for his alleged role in securing García’s escape from Peru in 1992 following the Fujimori autogolpe.

According to Ojo Público, an online portal, the initials ‘AG’ appear at numerous points in the files documenting the bribery scandals, particularly those based on emails written by Marcelo Odebrecht. García denies that these refer to him, claiming that they refer to Andrade Gutiérrez (one of the Brazilian construction firms). The initials appeared in correspondence relating to the Olmos irrigation contract. García also figures in testimony given by Dirceu, who is now serving a 32-year sentence. The other person named in testimony is Zaida Sisson, wife of a former minister in García’s first government (1985-90).

Valentim is quoted as stating that “taking advantage of political support was the reason that we sought the services of a consultant (Dirceu). It is well known that in Peru many firms use this mechanism (...) It was frequently pointed out that the firm run by former minister Dirceu had the capacity” to reach García.

García has pointed out that such meetings offer no proof of bribery.

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