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Peru’s ex-president barred from leaving country amid corruption probe

The ruling by a judge in Lima comes a day after congress accepted Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s resignation.

A Peruvian judge has barred recently resigned president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski from leaving the South American nation for 18 months while he is being investigated for money laundering.

The ruling by a judge in Lima comes a day after congress accepted Mr Kuczynski’s resignation and swore in Vice President Martin Vizcarra as his successor.

Mr Kuczynski is being probed for some 782,000 US dollars in payments his consulting firm received a decade ago from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Peru’s new president Martin Vizcarra waves as he makes his way to the House of Pizarro, the presidential residence and workplace, in Lima (Karel Navarro/AP)

Some of the payments took place when Mr Kuczynski was a government minister, raising questions about whether they were made in return for political favours.

The former Wall Street investor has denied any wrongdoing.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying 800 million dollars in bribes to officials across Latin America including 29 million dollars in Peru.

At the same time the hearing was taking place, prosecutors carried out a search of Mr Kuczynski’s home in Lima and another property outside the capital.

“Peru since the 19th century has watched the sad show as presidents and ex-presidents flee the country and justice,” said Hamilton Castro, the anti-corruption prosecutor who had requested the 79-year-old be barred from leaving Peru.

“This is the historical behaviour that we seekers of justice have to take into account.”

Mr Kuczynski’s lawyer promised his client’s full co-operation and said he would abide by the prosecutor’s request not to leave the country. Mr Kuczynski was not present at Saturday’s hearing.

He is the fourth former Peruvian president to be investigated for taking payments from Odebrecht.

One is currently in jail while another, Alejandro Toledo, for whom Mr Kuczynski served as finance minister, has refused to return to Peru from the US to face charges.


From Belfast Telegraph