Ex-president Kuczynski barred from leaving Peru amid bribery scandal

LIMA – A Peruvian judge has barred former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski , who resigned this week over allegations he was involved in the continent-wide Carwash bribery scandal, from leaving the South American nation for 18 months, the prosecutor’s office said on Twitter..

The Saturday’s ruling came a day after congress accepted Kuczynski’s resignation and swore in Vice President Martin Vizcarra as his successor.

Kuczynski, 79, is being probed for some $782,000 in payments his consulting firm received a decade ago from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant at the heart of Latin America’s biggest-ever bribery scandal. Some of the payments took place when Kuczynski was a government minister, raising questions about whether they were made in return for political favors.

The former Wall Street investor has denied any wrongdoing. He said the consulting firm, Westfield Capital, was then being managed by his business partner and that he paid taxes on all earnings from that era.

Kuczynski resigns as Peru’s president under threat of impeachment

Odebrecht has admitted to paying $800 million in bribes to officials across Latin America including $29 million in Peru.

As prosecutors Hamilton Castro and Sergio Jimenez signed the order, their colleagues searched two of Kuczynski’s homes in and around Lima, according to a second tweet.

The order stops Kuczynski from traveling abroad for 18 months and his passport has been rescinded.

Kuzynski is the fourth former Peruvian president to be investigated for taking payments from Odebrecht. Former President Alberto Fujimori fled to Japan when his term ended in 2000 as he faced accusations of corruption and human rights abuses. More recently, another ex-leader, Alejandro Toledo, was believed to have fled to the U.S. and then was stopped from boarding a flight to Israel, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Peru, in February 2017. Toledo was also embroiled in the Odebrecht scandal.