LIMA, Peru—Peru’s political establishment has been shaken by investigations and allegations of corruption, with one former president and his wife jailed while prosecutors investigate charges of money laundering against them, and another former president facing possible extradition from the U.S. in a similar case.
What began as several national investigations into suspicious bank transfers and real estate purchases gained urgency following revelations from Brazil about an international bribery network managed by the construction conglomerate Odebrecht. The company’s executives have admitted to paying approximately $800 million in bribes to public officials in a dozen countries in order to obtain billions of dollars’ worth of government contracts.
Last week, an appeals court upheld a lower court’s July 13 decision to imprison President Ollanta Humala—who governed from 2011 to 2016—and his wife, Nadine Heredia, for 18 months while prosecutors complete an investigation of bank deposits and property purchases by the couple, their relatives and friends, which authorities suspect involved funds from unreported campaign contributions. In February, the former director of Odebrecht in Peru, Jorge Barata, told investigators that Odebrecht donated $3 million to Humala’s 2011 election campaign, which Humala and Heredia deny.