LIMA – Hours after one Peruvian court refused to consider a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of jailed former President Ollanta Humala, another tribunal agreed Tuesday to hear the motion.
Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia, are being held in preventive detention in connection with the corruption case involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Judge Rocio Urraca, who presides over a court in the northern city of Piura, accepted for consideration a motion presented by attorney Jorge Luis Purizaca seeking review of the 18-month pre-trial detention imposed on the former president and first lady.
The judge who ordered the detention and the members of the appellate panel who upheld it will have one day to provide Urraca with documentation related to the case.
Urraca’s decision to consider the motion came a few hours after a magistrate in the southern city of Arequipa flatly rejected a writ submitted by Heredia’s cousin, Karina Prado.
Judge Victor Zuñiga was unmoved by Prado’s argument that there was insufficient evidence to uphold the preventive detention order issued last month against Humala, who governed Peru from 2011 to 2016, and the former first lady.
Humala and Heredia became the target of an investigation after Marcelo Odebrecht, the owner of the construction giant at the center of a vast corruption case, said he had contributed $3 million to the 2011 presidential campaign of the then-candidate of the Peruvian Nationalist Party.
Peruvian prosecutors are investigating Humala and Heredia for allegedly laundering assets.
In 2014, the Humala administration awarded a consortium made up of Odebrecht, Spain’s Enagas and Peru’s Graña y Montero a contract to build the Southern Peruvian Gas Pipeline.
Last week, prosecutor Reinaldo Abia accused former Proinversion chief Edgar Ramirez, whose agency oversaw the bidding for the gas pipeline, of collusion and failure to negotiate in good faith.
Odebrecht and Sao Paulo-based petrochemical company Braskem reached a settlement last December with the US Department of Justice in which they pleaded guilty to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world.
The companies agreed to pay a combined total penalty of at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges with authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland arising out of those schemes.
Odebrecht paid $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials between 2005 and 2014, a period of time that spans the administrations of three presidents: Alejandro Toledo, 2001 to 2006; Alan Garcia, 2006 to 2011; and Humala.
Peru’s current president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who served in Toledo’s administration as prime minister and economy minister, pledged that his government would fully cooperate in the probe of his former boss.