Keiko Fujimori, Opposition Leader and Dictator’s Daughter, Returns to Prison

  • "I impose preventive detention for a period of 15 months," said Judge Víctor Zúñiga.
  • "If you are watching this video, it is because Judge Victor Zuniga unfairly decided to send me to jail again," Fujimori said in a pre-recorded video.
  • The ex-president's daughter and her husband are being investigated for money laundering regarding donations received in electoral campaigns in 2011 and 2016.

A Peruvian judge ordered Tuesday that opposition leader Keiko Fujimori should be returned to prison for a further 15 months’ pre-trial detention. Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, is accused of taking $1.2 million (£940,000) in illegal campaign financing from Odebrecht, a Brazilian giant construction company, in 2011. She hasn’t been officially charged.

Keiko Fujimori is a Peruvian politician. She is the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, and served as First Lady from 1994 to 2000. Fujimori leads the right-wing party Fuerza Popular and was their presidential candidate in the 2011 election runoff and the 2016 election runoff, losing both times.

“I impose preventive detention for a period of 15 months,” said Judge Víctor Zúñiga, after presenting the arguments of his decision at a 10-hour hearing. The magistrate said that preventive detention is an appropriate and necessary measure. In justifying his decision, Zúñiga argued that there is a risk of Fujimori fleeing the country and said that she would be obstructing justice.

Minutes before the decision, Fujimori entered the court accompanied by her husband, Mark Vito. The 44-year-old opposition leader was immediately arrested after the ruling and was taken to Chorrillos women’s prison in south Lima. “If you are watching this video, it is because Judge Victor Zuniga unfairly decided to send me to jail again,” Fujimori said in a pre-recorded video that was shared on social media minutes after her arrest. Fujimori denies any wrongdoing and insists that the accusations are politically motivated

“This is not justice. This is persecution,” she said. Her lawyer, Giuliana Loza, told reporters, “obviously, this defense is appealing the ruling.” Peru’s prosecutor had requested preventive detention for 18 months, as there was new information against her.

Odebrecht S.A. is a Brazilian conglomerate, headquartered in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, consisting of diversified businesses in the fields of engineering, construction, chemicals and petrochemicals. Between 2001-2016, Odebrecht paid $788 million in bribes across Latin America.

Fujimori had already spent 13 months in prison. Accused of interfering with prosecutors’ investigations into the Odebrecht scandal, Fujimori was preemptively arrested on October 31, 2018. Directors of the company confessed to illegally distributing millions of dollars to Peruvian politicians, including four former presidents. In November last year, the Peruvian Constitutional Court granted habeas corpus to the opposition leader Prosecutors then appealed this decision.

The ex-president’s daughter and her husband are being investigated for money laundering regarding donations received in electoral campaigns in 2011 and 2016. In irregular financing, Odebrecht construction company allegedly transferred $1 million to her 2011 campaign in exchange for lucrative tenders had she won the presidency. Both the former president of the Brazilian construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht, and his former representative in Peru, Jorge Barata, told Peruvian prosecutors that the company provided funds for Keiko Fujimori’s campaign.

Fujimori, who is also the leader of the Popular Force, denies the Peruvian justice accusations. If convicted, she faces a sentence of 10 to 16 years in prison. Fujimori was defeated in presidential election runoffs twice, albeit very narrowly, in 2011 and again in 2016. Her popularity rating has since plummeted during the money laundering case that she is facing. Still, she remains an influential figure in Peruvian politics.

Her father, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, now 81, remains in jail for crimes against humanity. A court found him responsible for massacres of people he alleged were terrorists in 1991 and 1992.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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