LIMA – Former Peruvian president Alan Garcia said on Thursday he received no bribes from any company during his second term in office from 2006-2011.
Garcia made his remarks after a Peruvian news portal published testimony that a former Brazilian presidential chief of staff, Jose Dirceu, and a pair of business leaders gave in late 2015 and early 2016 to an investigating judge in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.
Those defendants said Garcia was a key contact in their business plans in Peru.
“With no evidence, this is just a smear: I received all companies that decided to invest in Peru. None of them bribed me. They did bribe others,” Garcia wrote on Twitter.
The portal Ojo Publico published on Wednesday the testimony of the chairman of Brazilian engineering company Galvao Engenharia, Gilberto de Azevedo Branco Valentim, in which he told Judge Sergio Moro that his meeting with Garcia was critical because some of the company’s financing for an engineering project depended on the Peruvian government’s support.
Valentim was referring to a project in the northwestern Peruvian region of Tumbes.
Galvao hired Dirceu during Garcia’s second presidency to help it win contracts in Peru, he told the Brazilian judge.
Ojo Publico also published the testimony of the owner of Brazilian engineering company Engevix, Jose Antunes Sobrinho, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his involvement in the massive Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption scheme.
Dozens of business executives and politicians have been caught up in that scandal, in which major engineering companies bribed executives at Brazilian state oil Petrobras in exchange for inflated contracts and diverted some of the loot to politicos and political parties.
Many defendants have pleaded guilty and turned state’s evidence in exchange for more lenient sentences.
Antunes said he hired Dirceu and his partner, Gerson Almada, to help Engevix, saying he wanted to leverage their relationship with Garcia in Peru.
Dirceu was sentenced to 31 years for corruption and money laundering related to Lava Jato, although a Supreme Court panel this week ordered him to be released and said he would remain free unless the full high court upholds his conviction.
Several former officials in Garcia’s second administration, including erstwhile Deputy Communications Minister Jorge Cuba, are under investigation for allegedly receiving bribes for the construction of Line 1 of the Lima Metro.
Separately, another former Peruvian president, Alejandro Toledo, on Thursday filed an appeal of an earlier court ruling rejecting his request for a writ of habeas corpus.
Toledo, who is currently in California, faces two international arrest warrants, including one for allegedly taking $20 million in bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for favoring the company in bidding for a major highway contract.