After 13 months in pre-trial detention, Peruvian politician Keiko Fujimori is free. She remains under investigation for corruption.
Keiko Fujimori after her release Photo: Reuters
Keiko Fujimori is no longer in prison. On Friday, the Peruvian politician and daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori was released after 13 months in pre-trial detention. Peru’s Constitutional Court had previously overturned the pre-trial detention order. The 44-year-old is accused of receiving $1.2 million from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht for her campaign in the 2011 presidential election.
The decision to release her was a close one. Four of the seven constitutional judges voted in favor last Tuesday, three against. However, it is not an acquittal. Keiko Fujimori and 19 other people from her party are being investigated on suspicion of forming a criminal organization and corruption.
The most important prosecution witness is the former company director Marcelo Odebrecht. He had admitted unlawful election campaign support to the Peruvian public prosecutor’s office. His department head responsible for Peru at the time, Jorge Barata, named the specific sum of 1.2 million dollars. The trial is still pending.
"I will take time off, after that decide what I will do in the second phase of my life," Keiko Fujimori said as she left the women’s prison in Chorrillos. With that, she left open whether she would run as a candidate in the Jan. 26 congressional election.
The construction group is alleged to have distributed around US$790 million in bribes to politicians and their stooges in at least ten Latin American countries between 20.
President MartIn Vizcarra dissolved the unicameral parliament in September and announced new elections after the majority of parliamentarians rejected his so-called transparency law against corruption. Vizcarra, initially vice president, had taken over the post March 2018 from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was forced to resign over corruption allegations.
The Odebrecht scandal continues to make headlines. According to a New York court’s investigation, the construction group allegedly distributed around $790 million in bribes to politicians and their stooges in at least ten Latin American countries between 20 in order to secure public contracts. Of this, $29 million is said to have flowed to Peru.
Two ex-presidents, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018) and Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), are therefore also under investigation there. While Kuczynski awaits trial in house arrest, Toledo is in extradition custody in the United States. Former President Alan GarcIa (2006-2011) had evaded arrest by committing suicide in April.