Peru Opposition Leader Keiko Fujimori Walks Free from Lima Jail
(Bloomberg) -- Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori walked free from a Lima prison Friday night after Peru’s highest court annulled her 18-month preventive jail sentence for obstructing a money-laundering probe.
Speaking to reporters outside the jail, Fujimori said the Constitutional Court had corrected a process that was arbitrary and “full of abuses,” and said she’ll keep cooperating with the investigation.
“I’m going to take time to reconnect with my family, recuperate, and later on we’ll decide what I’ll do in the second stage of my life,” Fujimori said, according to video broadcast by the Canal N network.
The 44-year-old daughter of former autocrat Alberto Fujimori was jailed 13 months ago on allegations she sought to use her party’s congressional majority and contacts in the judiciary to derail a money-laundering probe against her. Prosecutors allege she received $1 million in campaign donations from Brazilian builder Odebrecht SA, though haven’t formally charged her. She denies any wrongdoing.
In the court’s Nov. 25 ruling, three justices said prosecutors didn’t provide sufficient evidence directly linking Fujimori to the payments from Odebrecht. A fourth said she no longer posed a threat to the investigation after Congress was dissolved in September.
Prosecutors investigating Fujimori and other politicians accused the court of thwarting Peru’s fight against corruption by releasing Fujimori. “The decision is surprising, incongruous and anti-technical, and suspiciously, it has political overtones,” prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez said Friday. He’s asked the judiciary to contest the ruling, La Republica newspaper reported.
The Constitutional Court annulled a preventive jail sentence against former president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia last year.
Voters will elect a new Congress on Jan. 26 and analysts don’t expect any political party to win a majority.
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