Peru Puts Political Scion Keiko Fujimori on Trial for Laundering

(Bloomberg) -- Peruvian political scion Keiko Fujimori on Monday appeared in a Lima courtroom to begin what’s expected to be a massive, years long trial for allegedly laundering millions of dollars during her failed presidential bids.

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Fujimori is among Peru’s most influential and polarizing politicians, having been the presidential runner-up three times while leading the country’s largest congressional faction. She is also the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, sentenced for human rights violations, and who is back in political life after having been released from prison due to a pardon.

Fujimori is accused of allegedly having led a criminal enterprise that laundered some $17 million to fund her presidential campaigns in 2011 and 2016. Among notable contributors are Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA and Peruvian financial services company Credicorp Ltd. While Fujimori has acknowledged some of the campaign contributions, she denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors are asking that Fujimori to be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. She has already spent time in pre-trial detention between 2018 and 2020. The lead prosecutor, Jose Domingo Perez, went to court on Monday wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The case is expected to be one of the most massive political trials in Peru’s recent history. Fujimori’s lawyer Giulliana Loza has estimated it will last two years, including more than 5,000 exhibits and that prosecutors have called 1,300 witnesses who may take the stand.

It is also part of Peru’s massive anti-graft crusade in the wake of sprawling revelations that Odebrecht was illegally bankrolling Peru’s top politicians. Prosecutors have since alleged that at least four Peruvian ex-presidents took dirty money from Odebrecht, both while in office and while campaigning.

Fujimori is widely expected to launch a fourth presidential run with elections set for April 2026, although an unlikely conviction before that date could complicate her plans. Her father is also expected to take a more active role in that political cycle, with party members openly toying with the idea of him either being on the presidential ticket or running for the newly created senate.

An earlier version of the web headline and web link misspelled the name of the politician on trial.

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