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LATIN AMERICA | 01-09-2017 17:15

Keiko Fujimori faces graft probe, says lawyer

Popular force leader investigated over alleged links to Odebrecht scandal.

Prosecutors in Peru are investigating opposition leader Keiko Fujimori over suspected links to a corruption scandal, her lawyer said this week.

Fujimori, leader of the Popular Force party, is the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is in jail for human rights atrocities. She herself lost presidential elections in 2011 and 2016.

Prosecutors suspect she received funding for her 2011 campaign from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. The company is at the centre of a corruption mega-scandal spanning several Latin American countries.

“We have been notified of the start of a preliminary investigation” based on evidence from Brazilian investigators, Keiko Fujimori’s lawyer Edward Garcia told reporters.

He said his client denied any links to Odebrecht and was ready to cooperate with investigators.

Fujimori, 42, stressed on Twitter: “I’ll say it for the umpteenth time: neither Popular Force nor I have received money from Odebrecht.  So I am sure the investigation will confirm Odebrecht did not give us funds.”

Prosecutors say Brazilian investigators found a message stored in the telephone of the company's jailed ex-boss Marcelo Odebrecht that appeared to indicate he was making payments to Fujimori.

Alejandro Aguinaga, the doctor for Alberto Fujimori said this week the 79-year-old is in intensive care after suffering a life-threatening heart complaint in prison. Aguinaga told AFP that Fujimori collapsed in prison in Lima and was rushed to a clinic.

It is the latest in a string of health alerts for the former leader, who was jailed for massacres committed while he was in power in the 1990s.

“He suffered a severe rapid heart rate, a marked palpitation. His life was in danger but he is now stabilizing and the possibility that he suffered a heart attack has been ruled out.”

Fujimori is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption. He was convicted in 2007 for his role in killings by a death squad targeting alleged guerrillas.

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