LIMA, Peru – Prosecutors in Peru on Tuesday requested the arrest of former President Ollanta Humala and his wife on money laundering and conspiracy charges tied to a corruption scandal involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Prosecutor German Juarez told The Associated Press that he asked a judge to jail Humala and former first lady Nadine Heredia for 18 months. He said the request is based on testimony provided in Brazil by the former head of Odebrecht, who said he illegally contributed $3 million to Humala's 2011 presidential campaign.
The judge had 48 hours to determine whether to order the arrest of Humala and Heredia. He has already ordered the arrest of another former president, Alejandro Toledo, for related charges. Toledo is in the U.S. fighting attempts by Peruvian authorities to have him deported to answer the charges.
Authorities across Latin America have been moving to charge officials accused of taking some $800 million in bribes from Odebrecht. The company acknowledged the bribes when it signed a plea agreement in December with the U.S. Justice Department.
The bribes include some $29 million paid in Peru for projects built during the administrations of Toledo, Humala and former President Alan Garcia.
Humala, who governed between 2011 and 2016, has denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht. His lawyer, Julio Espinoza, said the ex-president will vigorously defend himself against the charges and has no intention of leaving Peru.
Prosecutors suspect that Humala and his party conspired to disguise Odebrecht's contributions, reporting them as donations from individuals who later said they had never provided any financial support to the campaign.