LIMA Dec 22 Peru's President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski on Thursday denied receiving $20 million in bribes
from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA in exchange for
help winning a contract in 2005, when he was prime minister.
In a massive plea deal that it signed in the United States
on Wednesday, Odebrecht said it distributed a total of $29
million in bribes to unnamed officials in Peru during the terms
of three presidencies from 2005 to 2014.
Kuczynski, a 78-year-old former investment banker who was
prime minister and finance minister in 2005, said Odebrecht
employees must be brought to Peru to explain whom it bribed to
secure public work contracts.
"It clearly needs to be investigated," Kuczynski told
reporters. "I can guarantee that I didn't receive anything or do
Earlier this month, Peru's attorney general's office
reopened a preliminary graft inquiry into whether Kuczynski and
former president Alejandro Toledo helped Odebrecht win
infrastructure contracts by passing a law that declared highway
projects of national interest.
"I signed off on a law that Congress passed. That's not a
crime," said Kuczynski, who assumed the presidency five months
Odebrecht has an outsized presence in Peru, where its
donation of a small version of Rio de Janeiro's famous Christ
the Redeemer statue dots Lima's skyline. In the past decade it
has won public work contracts worth more than $10 billion.
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Paul Simao)