Prosecutors in Peru have raided the home of former first lady Nadine Heredia in a sweeping operation linked to alleged corruption connected to a massive gas pipeline constructed by the disgraced multinational Odebrecht.
The Heredia home was one of 26 properties targeted by anti-corruption forces probing corruption in the construction of the pipeline known as Gasoducto Sur, reported the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists‘ media partners at Convoca and other media outlets.
The raids, which were authorized by judge Juan Carlos Sánchez Balbuena, also zeroed in on the homes of two former ministers of energy and three prominent Peruvian law firms.
They come less than two weeks after the publication of the Bribery Division, an investigation led by ICIJ, revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in secret payments by a division of the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht that existed primarily to manage the company’s bribes.
Among the investigation’s findings were more than $3 million in previously undisclosed payments linked to the Gasoducto Sur.
The Gasoducto Sur, a 715-mile pipeline connecting natural gas fields in the Andean mountains to the Peruvian coast, was one of the signature development projects of former Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.
In May, Humala and his wife Heredia were charged with money laundering and other acts of corruption related to Odebrecht. They are currently awaiting trial and both face charges carrying more than 20 years in prison time.
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Odebrecht has acknowledged paying nearly $800 million in bribes to win public works contracts across Latin America in a plea agreement with United States and Brazilian prosecutors, but has not publicly admitted to paying bribes related to the Gasoducto Sur.
After the Bribery Division revealed 17 hidden payments by Odebrecht related to the Gasoducto Sur, Humala took to Twitter, highlighting the company’s statements that not all payments made by its infamous Division of Structured Operations were bribes, and calling for the matter to be investigated.
Humala is one of four former Peruvian presidents who have come under investigation or faced charges related to their dealings with Odebrecht.
In April, police carrying an Odebrecht-related warrant arrived at the door of Humala’s predecessor, former two-term Peruvian President Alan García. García killed himself as police attempted to make the arrest.