LIMA Dec 21 The government of Peruvian
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said it was helping the attorney
general's office obtain information from prosecutors abroad
after Brazil-based Odebrecht said in a global plea deal that it
doled out $29 million in bribes to local officials over three
Kuczynski has not been implicated in any act of corruption,
Prime Minister Fernando Zavala stressed on Wednesday after
engineering conglomerate Odebrecht acknowledged paying $20
million to benefit a high-ranking official in about 2005, when
Kuczynski was finance minister and then prime minister under
President Alejandro Toledo.
Prosecutors in Peru have been probing potential wrongdoing
in Odebrecht's local contracts since a massive graft scandal
ensnared the company in Brazil, but they have yet to press
"We're against any kind of corruption and are going to
support relevant bodies so those investigations are deepened,"
Zavala said in a weekly news conference.
Earlier this month the attorney general's office reopened a
preliminary graft probe into whether Kuczynski and Toledo helped
Odebrecht win $500 million in infrastructure contracts in 2005,
after concluding the probe had been closed prematurely.
Kuczynski will continue to cooperate with prosecutors, said
Zavala, who said the probe stemmed from a law passed during
Toledo's term that was "approved by Congress, not by the
But both Toledo and Kuczynski - then the prime minister -
signed off on the law after it was proposed by a ruling party
lawmaker. Carlos Huerta, the local attorney who asked
prosecutors to probe the contracts, said the law changed bidding
rules so Odebrecht could compete.
A massive settlement deal that Odebrecht reached in the
United States on Wednesday said Odebrecht made $20
million in payments to companies owned by an intermediary of an
official who offered to help it secure an infrastructure
contract, part of $29 million in bribes it distributed in Peru
from about 2005 to 2014.
The plea bargain has jolted Peru as it threatens to expose
high-level corruption during the governments of Toledo and
former presidents Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.
Prosecutors have alleged Humala took illicit funds from
Odebrecht and said in November they have evidence to convict him
of money laundering.
Kuczynski, a 78-year-old former Wall Street banker, has been
trying to shore up his corruption-fighting credentials after the
opposition ousted his education minister over alleged
irregularities in a school computer contract on his watch.
(Reporting by Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Editing by Leslie