Peru congress begins debating Kuczynski future

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Lima (AFP)

Peru's Congress Thursday began discussing a motion to impeach President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski over alleged bribe-taking from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

If the motion is passed, a date next week will be set aside for an impeachment debate and vote in the Congress.

In that session, the president would be invited to make his case, assisted by a lawyer.

The move must have the support of 52 of the 130 members of the opposition-majority Congress.

The threat of Kuczynksi's dismissal has caused uncertainty in Peru the month before it hosts the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from the Western Hemisphere, including US President Donald Trump.

In December, Kuczynski survived an impeachment motion in Congress over the same Odebrecht-related matter.

A week later he was questioned for four hours in his office by anti-corruption prosecutors over his links to Odebrecht.

The 79-year-old former Wall Street banker was accused of lying about his ties to the company.

He later admitted he had taken money from Odebrecht for what he and the company said were legitimate consulting fees.

Kuczynski was Peru's economy minister for part of the period during which the money was received, 2004-2013.

The Brazilian company has admitted spending millions to bribe government officials across Latin America to secure public works contracts.