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Peru opposition leader Keiko Fujimori detained in corruption probe

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Peru opposition leader Keiko Fujimori detained in corruption probe
Peru opposition leader Keiko Fujimori detained in corruption probe. Reuters/Courtesy of Justice Palace
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Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was detained on Wednesday for alleged money laundering linked to corruption-tainted Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

The two-time presidential candidate and daughter of former autocrat President Alberto Fujimori was taken into custody after she arrived at the chief prosecutor's office to give testimony about an investigation into the financing of her 2011 presidential bid. She is to be initially held for 10 days.

"Persecution has been disguised as justice in our country," she wrote on Twitter. "I've been detained without any legal grounds."

A judge also ordered the arrest of 19 other people, including two former ministers from her father's government.

The leader of Popular Force, the biggest party in Congress, Keiko Fujimori is suspected of running a criminal group inside her party that received $1.2 million (€1 million) from Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

She and her party deny any wrongdoing.

The Brazilian construction firm has admitted in the US to paying nearly $800 million in bribes to politicians across Latin America, including in Peru.

Three former presidents are currently under investigation for receiving money from Odebrecht disguised as campaign contributions.

Former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori in the 2016 presidential election, was forced to resign earlier this year due to threats of impeachment by the Popular Force-controlled Congress over links to Odebrecht payments.

He was replaced by current President Martin Vizcarra, who has welcomed the anti-corruption sweep. The Popular Front considers it a politically motivated witch-hunt.

Last week, a judge ordered Alberto Fujimori to return to jail to serve a 25-year sentence for running death squads that killed civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign against left-wing guerillas in the 1990s. He was also found guilty of graft.

Kuczynski had granted the elder Fujimori a pardon last December ostensibly out of health considerations, but the decision was widely viewed as an attempt by the former Wall Street banker to counter impeachment proceedings.

cw/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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