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Former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia entered the prison of the Palace of Justice in compliance with the 18-month pretrial detention order issued by Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho. EFE/Raúl García Pereira
Former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia entered the prison of the Palace of Justice in compliance with the 18-month pretrial detention order issued by Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho. EFE/Raúl García Pereira

One President a day keeps Odebrecht away

A second ex-Latin American president convicted for corruption in less than two days.

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After former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva received on Thursday a preventive sentence for Petrobras' plot, Peruvian Justice ordered 18 months in pre-trial detention against former president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia.

The charges are quite similar in the Peruvian case: both Humala and Heredia are accused of money laundering and illicit association, following statements by Marcelo Odebrecht, responsible for the construction scandal that bribed several Latin American countries.

According to Odebrecht, the former Peruvian president and his wife would have received up to 3 million dollars for the Nationalist Party's campaign in 2011.

The couple would have declared that it was a "political persecution" and they surrendered voluntarily, while their lawyers Wilfredo Pedraza and Julio César Espinoza have assured that they will appeal the decision, according to Univision.

"With this decision, Humala joins former President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), a fugitive in the United States from the Peruvian Justice accused of having received $20 million from Odebrecht to facilitate his business in the country, on the list of Peruvian leaders sprinkled with corruption," the report continues.

The case of Humala and his wife brings an aggravating factor because the judge in charge of the case considered that the preventive custody was necessary to avoid that the ex president could "obstruct the evidence action and avoid the action of the Justice", as he would have tried prior to gaining employment in Geneva at the United Nations Food and Drug Administration, as it was facilitated by Odebrecht's link with the Workers' Party of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

Likewise, the judge stated, "there is a high probability that they would have received money from Venezuela. Two people have witnessed that they packed suitcases with bills from the embassy. "

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz - who recently broke ranks with the Chavist party and has become a fundamental pillar of opposition to the regime of Nicolas Maduro - denounced Thursday that the Supreme Court of Justice would be blocking the investigation of officials who allegedly "received bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht."

According to CNN, the information would have been made public by the Prosecutor "when she participated by telephone in the conference of Ibero-American prosecutors held in Buenos Aires."

"Ortega revealed that this week the Supreme Court of Justice deprived the power to impute. The condition is that the Public Ministry must make any imputation before a judge which qualified as an obstacle to the exercise of criminal action," continued the report.

According to the Prosecutor, obstruction of justice by the Venezuelan Supreme Court would be "a grave precedent ... because this may affect all the countries of the region."

The corrupt framework of the Odebrecht case has served as a means of contrast in Latin American politics, and its investigation has demonstrated the corrupt foundations of the so-called Socialist Revolution in the region, whose top representatives have embezzled their countries, betraying the confidence of its citizens and demonstrating once again the historical failure of populism.

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