LIMA – Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht provided $3 million to help finance former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s 2011 campaign, media reports said Thursday.
The daily El Comercio and the weekly Caretas reported that former Odebrecht executive Jorge Barata revealed the contributions to Humala’s campaign in a statement to investigators last month.
The contributions were made in response to a request by the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) and some funds were turned over directly to former first lady Nadine Heredia, El Comercio and Caretas reported, citing Barata’s statement.
Peruvian prosecutors are investigating Humala and Heredia, the leaders of the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP), for allegedly laundering assets linked to the illegal financing of the 2006 and 2011 presidential campaigns.
Barata, who cut a cooperation deal with prosecutors in Brazil in exchange for a lighter sentence, told Peruvian investigators that he handed over $1 million to Heredia at a Lima housed owned by Humala.
The former Odebrecht executive said Heredia called him later to ask for more money, which came from funds sent by the construction giant from Brazil to its office in Lima.
Payments were also made to Brazilian publicists Luis Favre and Valdemir Garreta, who transported the money to Peru, Barata alleged.
The payments stopped in the first half of 2011 once Humala took office as Peru’s president, Barata said.
Odebrecht and Sao Paulo-based petrochemical unit Braskem reached a settlement in 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 is one of the companies implicated in a $2 billion bribes-for-inflated-contracts scandal that is centered on Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and has roiled that South American country.
In Peru, Odebrecht paid $29 million in bribes to officials between 2005 and 2014, according to the settlement with the US Justice Department, a period of time that spans the administrations of three presidents: Alejandro Toledo, who governed Peru from 2001 to 2006; Alan Garcia, who was in office from 2006 to 2011; and Ollanta Humala, in office from 2011 to 2016.
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.