Peru's Congress Votes Against Impeaching President Amid Graft Scandal

© REUTERS / Mariana BazoPeru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski gestures while addressing the audience after receiving the presidential sash during his inauguration ceremony in Lima, Peru, July 28, 2016
Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski gestures while addressing the audience after receiving the presidential sash during his inauguration ceremony in Lima, Peru, July 28, 2016 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Peruvian Congress voted against impeaching President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Thursday amid a graft scandal involving the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

The motion to oust the president over his "moral incapacity" was rejected despite receiving 78 votes in favor; 19 voted against and there were 21 abstentions. At least 87 votes were needed to trigger the impeachment process.

READ MORE: How Dracula and Viagra Linked to $3.5Bln Corruption Scandal in Latin America

In mid-December, Odebrecht sent a letter to the Congress, saying it had paid a total of $4.8 million to companies linked to Kuczynski between 2004 and 2012. Some of the payments were made to Kuczynski's consulting firm Westfield Capital during his tenure as minister of economy and finance, and as prime minister in the 2000s.

A shaman performs a ceremony holding a portrait of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro upside down, as another holds a poster of U.S. President Donald Trump, on Morro Solar in Lima, Peru, Monday, June 12, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The revelations prompted several congressional factions to seek his impeachment in a motion on December 15, where they claimed that Kuczynski had lied when he denied any wrongdoing.

The investigation into Odebrecht, a construction giant, has become the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America. The company is accused of paying millions in bribes to politicians across the region to secure lucrative contracts. Marcelo Odebrecht, former head of the company, was sentenced to over 19 years in prison for corruption.

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