LIMA – Former first lady Nadine Heredia returned to Peru on Thursday in response to an order to appear in court issued by a judge investigating alleged money laundering.
“I have come at the judge’s request to be here within 10 days of his order to appear to hear his explanation of the reasons for this sudden change in his actions, because I left the country without any restrictions,” the 40-year-old Heredia said.
Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho ordered Heredia to return to Peru by Dec. 5 and to step down from her post as director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Geneva, a post the first lady was appointed to last week.
The FAO confirmed Thursday that Heredia, the wife of former President Ollanta Humala, was an official of the UN agency since Nov. 24 and had been granted permission to travel to Peru.
The judge ruled on Nov. 25 that prosecutors did not have any grounds to hold Heredia in preventive custody.
Heredia is being investigated for alleged money laundering linked to the financing of the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP), which was founded by her and her husband to vie for the presidency in the 2006 and 2011 elections.
The 54-year-old Humala, who was elected in 2011, completed his five-year presidential term on July 28.
Heredia said she never lied about her plans to leave the country and requested leave from the FAO to return home and “see what we’re going to do with Judge Carhuancho and what indications he’s going to give us.”
“I have always cooperated with the justice system and will continue to always cooperate, whether I’m here or performing my duties as FAO liaison director in Geneva,” the former first lady said.
Heredia said the Peruvian government overreacted when it contended last week that her appointment to the FAO post interfered with the money laundering investigation.