The trial against former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, his wife Nadine Heredia, and other defendants in the local version of the Lava Jato case started in Lima Monday.
The charges include irregular handling of funds from Brazil's Odebrecht and OAS companies as well as other financial resources supplied by the Venezuelan Government of then President Hugo Chávez.
The Odebrecht scandal involves allegations that the Brazilian firm would have bribed officials in several Latin American countries in exchange for hefty subconstruction contracts. In the case of Peru, former director Jorge Barata has acknowledged those allegations were true, although Humala has repeatedly denied the charges.
Humala is also under investigation for money laundering operations involving funding for the electoral campaigns of 2006 and 2011. According to the Prosecutor's Office, in 2006 the money would have come from Venezuela, while in 2011 the Brazilian construction company would have delivered US $ 3 million to Humala's entourage, at the request of the Workers' Party (PT), led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Lula himself was imprisoned for a year and seven months in Brazil as a part of the Lava Jato case. He was eventually released in 2019 by the Federal Supreme Court.
Peru's anti-corruption prosecutor Germán Juárez needs now to prove that those involved knew that the origin of the money was not legal, because at the time of the events, tampering with campaign accounts was an administrative offense and not a criminal offense.
Humala's defense has also denied any link between Venezuela and the alleged financing of Humala's electoral campaign in 2006.
Juárez has requested 20 years in prison for Humala and 26 for Heredia, for failing to declare the millionaire donations.
Among the other defendants in the case are the mother, a brother and a friend of Nadine Heredia's, in addiition to businessman Martín Belaunde Lossio, Humala's former campaign adviser, who has been caught in the Bolivian jungle after fleeing the country to escape prosecution.
Other former presidents investigated in the Lava Jato scandal are Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), who has been arrested in the United States and is pending extradition, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), who is under house arrest. Alan García (1985-1990 / 2006-2011) committed suicide in 2019 when he was about to be arrested.
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