November 15, 2017 / 9:31 PM / a month ago

Peru's Kuczynski denies allegations of Odebrecht links

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Wednesday claims he had worked as a consultant for Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], which is embroiled in an international bribery scandal, were false.

Kuczynski also said in a speech broadcast on television that he had never received any campaign donations from Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying millions of dollars of bribes in the country.

The statements came a day after local newspaper El Comercio reported that the scandal-plagued company hired Kuczynski as a consultant a decade ago.

Odebrecht SA acknowledged in a plea deal with U.S. and Brazilian prosecutors a year ago that it paid $29 million in bribes to officials in Peru over a decade spanning three presidencies as part of a massive graft scheme across much of Latin America and parts of Africa.

El Comercio reported that Marcelo Odebrecht, the jailed former head of the company, told prosecutors in Brazil that Odebrecht had hired Kuczynski after he served in the cabinet of former President Alejandro Toledo, and that the company might have funded his failed 2011 presidential bid.

Reuters could not verify what Odebrecht told Peruvian prosecutors in a meeting last week in Curitaba, Brazil. Kuczynski had earlier denied both any professional links and receiving campaign donations from Odebrecht on Twitter.

“I did not receive any support from that company in either of my two electoral campaigns,” Kuczynski said in his speech on Wednesday. “It is fundamental that we all fight against corruption, and I am committed to that fight.”

Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Chris Reese

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