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Keiko Fujimori Convicted on Corruption Charges

Keiko Fujimori is the latest Latin American politician to be charged with crimes of corruption related to the Odebrecht scandal. She has been accused of accepting $1.2 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction company in 2011.

Fujimori being taken into custody. Source:  BBC News

Fujimori being taken into custody. Source: BBC News

Fujimori was sentenced to three years of preventative prison after Judge Richard Concepción Carhuancho ruled that there was a high risk of Fujimori fleeing Peru. Fujimori will remain in prison as she awaits her trial.

Judge Concepción gave a statement, “This office considers that a grave suspicion exists that Fujimori may be the leader of a criminal organization created de facto within the Popular Force [Fuerza Popular] party to launder assets from the Odebrecht company.”

Fujimori is the leader of the Popular Force (Fuerza Popular) party in Peru, which holds a majority in the Peruvian Congress. The Popular Force party is also implicated in this corruption scandal and is under investigation.

Odebrecht admitted to paying nearly $800 million in bribes to politicians around Latin America in exchange for contracts of public works. Odebrecht confessed that a total of $29 million were given to Peruvian politicians from 2005 to 2014.  

Fujimori denied these accusations, which she categorizes as “political persecution.”

Judge Concepción  Source: Andina/  AmericaTV

Judge Concepción

Source: Andina/ AmericaTV

Fujimori’s Defense Attorney, Guilliana Loza, commented in defense of her client, “In this case we’ve never had an impartial judge,” referencing to Judge Concepción’s use of outside information and the account of an uncorroborated witness to make his decision. Attorney Loza is expected to appeal the verdict.

Fujimori also served as the First Lady of Peru at the age of 18, as daughter of Former President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori replaced her mother in the capacity of First Lady after the divorce of her parents.

In addition to her many roles in the Peruvian government, Keiko Fujimori ran for President in 2011 and 2016. She lost both elections.

A referendum in Peru is scheduled for December of this year to decide on anti-corruption laws. Latin America is a region plagued with corruption, and Peru is no exception. Four former presidents have been charged with corruption in recent years.

Former President Alberto Fujimori, father of Keiko, is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for corruption charges and abuse of human rights. President Alberto Fujimori was pardoned by his predecessor President Kuczynski, an action that was overturned by Peru’s Supreme Court, resulting in President Fujimori’s return to prison.