Peru: Prosecutors Claim Humala Campaign Financed by Venezuela, Odebrecht
Ollanta Humala is facing prosecutorial scrutiny for millions of dollars in payments from Hugo Chavez and Brazilian company Odebrecht during the course of his two presidential campaigns.
Former president of Peru Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia, could face a 20-year prison sentence for money laundering; this, after the Peruvian government contends that both the Venezuelan government and the construction giant Odebrecht financed their two campaigns.
Prosecutor Germán Juárez Atoche confirmed that he will no longer carry out any further investigation in the case of Humala and his wife, because he considers that he has sufficient evidence against them to charge them with crimes.
After the investigation, the prosecutor found “conclusive evidence” that links the ex-president with the crime of aggravated money laundering.
“We came to the conclusion that the government of Venezuela and the Odebrecht company financed the two campaigns of Ollanta Humala,” he said.
Atoche explained that, in the presidential campaign of 2006, in which Humala lost to Alan García, “he received money from the Venezuelan government,” while in the 2010 campaign the money came from the Odebrecht and OAS construction companies.
“In the case of Odebrecht, it paid USD $ 3 million, as Barata [Brazilian businessman and key Odebrecht figure Jorge Barata] said, while OAS paid about USD $500,000 through the Brazilian publicist Valdemir Garreta,” Atoche said.
His criminal indictments are based on “a lot of elements of conviction,” such as statements by Odebrecht and Jorge Barata.
“There is a spreadsheet in which a payment of $4,800,000 reais (USD $3 million at the time) appears, which Humala received. There is a legal and police report that states that OH is Ollanta Humala.”
The judge also commented that he is further investigating the origin of more than 14 million soles (about USD $4.5 million). “That implicates all those accused in the current proceedings,” he said.
The case is compounded by the fact that the former presidential couple is accused of leading a criminal organization dedicated to the laundering of assets of illicit origin.
Both Barata and Marcelo Odebrecht, who are living in Brazil, said in their respective interrogations that a USD $3 million payment was made to the 2011 Humala campaign. According to Barata, the massive payment was made by request of the Workers Party in Brazil, under the control of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. Lula is currently in jail, while the Workers Party has been decimated in recent Brazilian elections.
For its part, the Lava Jato Special Team detected more than 100 false contributors in the two presidential campaigns of Ollanta Humala. According to sources of the newspaper Gestión, there were 40 false contributors in 2006 and more than 60 in 2011.
Hugo Chavez appears to have sought to finance Humala’s nationalist-based campaign out of ideological affinity, while Odebrecht sought to spread its tentacles throughout the continent in order to win lucrative bids. Prosecutors will now begin to outline how a presumed criminal organization entrenched itself within the Peruvian Nationalist Party to launder illicit funds during the course of campaigns.
During the course of the investigations, a bank account of Ilan Heredia, brother of the former first lady, was discovered in Banco Continental, which was created to receive campaign contributions from the Union for Peru party.
“The money that was used from the account supposedly for campaign expenses does not correspond to what they reported to the ONPE. There is a huge difference,” said one informant.
The Prosecutor’s Office suspects that the former presidential couple handled large amounts of cash and said contribution came from abroad. Chávez contributed more than 12 million soles (approximately USD $ 3.6 million), and this contribution was never banked.
In June 2016 Atoche revealed that he has in his possession a letter from the former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, where there is discussion regarding contributions to the 2006 Humala campaign for amounts of USD $600,000 and another for USD $2 million.
For the office of Juarez, the more than 5 million soles (US $ 1,515,151) that Ilan Heredia (brother of Nadine Heredia and in charge of the finances of nationalism) deposited in the accounts of the party are not justified.
Ilan Heredia’s deposits into the Peruvian Nationalist Party’s bank accounts are being closely scrutinized with regard to their origin and use. Heredia, at the time, was national finance director for the party.
Peru has been particularly devastated by the Odebrecht scandal, which forced President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign last year, when proescutors found evidence of large Odebrecht payments in his bank accounts.