Peru's President Kuczynski avoids impeachment

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski will remain in office after Congress fell short of the votes needed for his ...

Posted: Dec 22, 2017 2:16 PM
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 2:16 PM

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski will remain in office after Congress fell short of the votes needed for his impeachment Thursday.

Kuczynski is the latest Latin American leader to be engulfed in a wave of corruption investigations stemming from the largest bribery scandal in modern history.

Votes in favor of the impeachment fell short

Two ex-Peruvian presidents have been accused of corruption

The debate over whether he should stay in office followed allegations that he accepted bribes when he served as the country's finance minister and later its prime minister.

Lawmakers debated for hours and then held a motion Thursday night on whether to impeach Kuczynski.

For impeachment to pass, 87 of the 130 congressional leaders -- two-thirds -- needed to vote in favor but only 79 voted in favor of Kuczynski's removal.

Hours before the vote, Kuczynski defended himself before Congress, making a forceful case for his innocence. In a radio interview the 79-year-old insisted he wouldn't be removed from office.

"Congress isn't going to remove me, they don't have the 87 votes," required for impeachment, Kuczynski told Colombia's Blu Radio on Thursday morning.

And in a defiant televised address last week he said, "I am here to show my face. I do not run, nor do I hide or have any motive to do so."

Company at center of Brazil corruption scandal

Peruvian lawmakers decided to move forward with proceedings to impeach Kuczynski last week.

Opposition lawmakers revealed $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to Kuczynski's two consulting firms between 2004 and 2006 when he was Peru's finance minister and prime minister.

Odebrecht continued paying advisory fees to the firms, Westfield Capital and First Capital, until 2012, well after Kuczynski left public office and before his presidential campaign in 2016. In total, Odebrecht paid Kuczynski's firms $4.8 million in advisory fees from 2004 and 2012.

Kuczynski has acknowledged his firms accepted the payments but says he did nothing illegal.

Odebrecht also says its payments to Kuczynski weren't illegal. It says its contracts with the firms were exclusively managed by Chilean businessman Gerardo Sepulveda, Kuczynski's partner at the firms.

But that may be a tough argument for lawmakers to buy. Odebrecht was at the center of Brazil's unprecedented corruption scandal, which partly triggered the longest recession in the country's history. The recession ended this year but unemployment remains very high at about 12.4%.

In December 2016, the US Justice Department hit Odebrecht with $3.5 billion record fine for dolling out bribes to officials across Latin America and beyond.

Several Latin American prosecutors have opened investigations into Odebrecht in their respective countries. In a plea agreement, Odebrecht admitted giving nearly $800 million in bribes to leaders and individuals in order to get contracts for construction projects.

Leaders accused

Several former presidents and lawmakers in Peru along were accused of taking part in the scandal prior to Kuczynski.

Peru's former President Ollanta Humala and his wife are in prison while authorities investigate their involvement in the Odebrecht bribe.

Police in Peru raided the home of former President Alejandro Toledo in February for allegedly accepting a Odebrecht bribe. Toledo denied the charges via Twitter but has gone missing, is thought to be in the US, and could face jail time.

Kuczynski served as finance and prime minister during Toledo's presidency.

Latin America's star faces corruption scandal

Peru's corruption crisis could mark a turn of fortunes for one of the region's star economies. Peru has led Latin America in growth the last two years, and in 2015 the International Monetary Fund put Peru on the world stage by hosting its annual meeting in the country's capital, Lima. It was the first time in 50 years the IMF hosted its meeting anywhere in Latin America.

Economists didn't expect Peru to go off the rails if Kuczynski was impeached like Brazil's economy did while former President Dilma Rousseff went through her impeachment process for allegedly messing with Brazil's budget to hide gaps.

But like Brazil, experts say, Peru faces one major variable: How deep does the corruption run in Peru's leadership ranks? Brazil's infamous "car wash" investigation sent dozens of high-ranking lawmakers to jail.

"It's unclear at this stage how big this becomes," said Neil Shearing, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, a research firm.

"It's much more difficult for the government to get its agenda through congress," amid a corruption scandal.

Terre Haute
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Robinson
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 65°
Indianapolis
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Rockville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Brazil
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Marshall
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Nice Days Ahead
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1387679

Reported Deaths: 25490
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55590210427
DuPage923181318
Will768831028
Lake683111011
Kane59389804
Winnebago34064501
Madison30904526
McHenry29175294
St. Clair28271519
Peoria23440339
Champaign21090153
Sangamon19073237
McLean18544187
Tazewell17213304
Rock Island15238328
Kankakee14533216
Kendall1327598
LaSalle12767249
Macon10991211
DeKalb10101121
Vermilion9993141
Adams8659126
Williamson7570134
Whiteside7196174
Boone682977
Ogle620583
Grundy598678
Clinton578791
Coles5763100
Knox5640153
Jackson509865
Henry507370
Livingston489691
Woodford481982
Stephenson481585
Macoupin478288
Effingham476472
Franklin454778
Marion4512117
Jefferson4417122
Monroe438094
Lee419453
Randolph416187
Fulton405159
Logan396063
Morgan393082
Christian383675
Montgomery379074
Bureau378383
Fayette322055
Perry319960
Iroquois313167
McDonough290151
Jersey271652
Douglas260536
Saline260157
Lawrence241127
Shelby232337
Union227140
Crawford214526
Bond208824
Cass203027
Ford188348
Warren183748
Clark183633
Jo Daviess182624
Pike181753
Wayne180753
Hancock180131
Carroll178037
Richland176940
Edgar176440
White170226
Washington164825
Moultrie162928
De Witt157129
Mason154145
Piatt152314
Clay149543
Mercer149334
Johnson147316
Greene145334
Massac135840
Wabash135512
Cumberland130019
Menard124812
Jasper116118
Marshall108219
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7276
Pulaski6997
Stark64824
Edwards57612
Henderson53014
Calhoun5292
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47311
Gallatin4684
Hardin39112
Pope3274
Out of IL50
Unassigned02420

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420