On 10 October, Keiko Fujimori went to the prosecutor’s office to give evidence in the case now known as the ‘cocktail parties’, supposed fund-raising events for the 2011 elections. She had failed to show up on three previous occasions, and this time she was surprised by a judicial order detaining her for up to ten days with immediate effect. The order also related to 19 other people considered to form part of a ‘criminal organisation’. Judge Richard Concepción Carhuancho ordered her detention for fear that otherwise she would try to escape. Several of the other people on the arrest list, including former minister and campaign financier Jaime Yoshiyama, have already fled.
The case relates to how in 2011 the presidential campaign of Fuerza 2011 received US$1.2 million from Odebrecht. Keiko has always claimed that the money had been raised through cocktail parties and raffles. Public prosecutor José Domingo Pérez, who has been investigating the case for over a year, made great inroads when he was able to access documents from Fuerza Popular, the successor organisation to Fuerza 2011. This allowed him and his team to build a strong case, involving not just Keiko herself but many others who played a role in illegally funnelling the money into her presidential campaign.
The following day, 11 October, the Supreme Court turned down an attempt to shelve the case against Keiko Fujimori. She and her husband, Mark Vito, had lodged this bid some months back to halt the investigation against them.
Taped recordings of conversations by disgraced Judge César Hinostroza have been circulating for several weeks referring, amongst other things, to conversations to resolve the legal problems of a “Señora K”. Last week, jailed businessman Antonio Camayo regained his liberty having agreed to plea bargaining protection on 9 October, producing evidence that enabled the case against Keiko Fujimori to proceed.
Keiko’s position appears precarious now that her bid to halt the investigation has failed in the Supreme Court and evidence is linking her to the scandals over judicial corruption. It is possible that she will remain in remand beyond the ten-day period.
The reaction of Fujimorista members of Congress has been one of disbelief, opting to protect party members by insisting (where applicable) on congressional immunity. They have been quick to ensure that the embattled Chief Public Prosecutor (Fiscal de la Nación) Pedro Gonzalo Chávarry remains securely in post. Chávarry is now using his ability to dismiss public prosecutors to undermine Pérez, sacking one of his team on 12 October.