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Peruvian president and rival questioned over links to Brazilian firm

The president of Peru and one of his leading political rivals have appeared before prosecutors investigating payments to politicians by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and former congresswoman Keiko Fujimori are being investigated by anti-corruption prosecutors in separate probes.

The president and Fujimori, leader of the Popular Force party in Congress, have denied wrongdoing.

Kuczynski was questioned at the presidential palace by prosecutor Hamilton Castro.

Fujimori quickly entered the offices of investigators without addressing journalists or dozens of supporters, some shouting: "Keiko, you are not alone."

The questions come shortly after Kuczynski narrowly avoided impeachment over the corruption allegations and then set off protests by pardoning jailed former president Alberto Fujimori.

Many Peruvians believe the pardon aimed to secure support from another political party led by Fujimori's son.

The former chief executive of Odebrecht has admitted that company executives paid bribes and campaign contributions to secure public works contracts.

Kuczynski , a 79-year-old former Wall Street banker, was already unpopular when an opposition-led investigative committee revealed documents showing Odebrecht made 782,000 US dollars in payments to his private consulting firm more than a decade ago.

The payments were made during years Kuczynski served as a government minister. He cannot be charged until he leaves office. His term ends in 2021.

Keiko Fujimori came under scrutiny because of an apparent reference to her when she was a presidential candidate in 2011 found on the phone of the former Odebrecht CEO, who admitted to Peruvian prosecutors that the company gave money to her.

She denies that her party received any money from the company but has not submitted to questions by prosecutors on three previous occasions.


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