Peru prosecutor to ask judge to jail ex-president for three years before trial

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In Lima, Peru, a prosecutor intended to plea with the judge to order former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to serve three years of jail time before trial while under the investigation of the bribes he allegedly took from Brazilian builder Odebrecht to secure construction contracts all around the region.

The 80-year-old Kuczynski had spent five days in jail without charges after a similar request had been granted by the court. The prosecution argued that Kuczynski would likely hinder the investigation unless he was kept in jail.

Kuczynski, on his part, denied allegations of any wrongdoings in relation to Odebrecht and has said many times that he would be more than willing to fully cooperate with the inquiry.

Prosecutor Hernan Mendoza mentioned that he also planned to ask a judge to jail the ex-president for 36 months while the charges were being prepared. His argument falls under the assumption that “preventive prison” would ensure the smooth flow in the proceedings.

Within Peruvian law, suspects can be jailed without trial for up to three years, provided that prosecutors can release evidence that can likely convict a suspect and to ensure that there would be no means of obstruction in their investigation on the case.

Ever since the Odebrecht scandal broke headlines, judges have ordered the preventive imprisonment of various political figures in Peru.

Acting as president of Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal, Ernesto Blume warned that prevention prison would only apply for exceptional cases and, given the many situations where this was utilized, warned judges not to abuse this.

Kuczynski was a former Wall Street banker who renounced US citizenship to run for the presidency in Peru. He resigned over accusations of helping Odebrecht obtain contracts for the construction of a highway and for an irrigation project during the time he was in the cabinet of former President Alejandro Toledo, all the while accepting bribes that were disguised as a consultation.

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