Peru president targeted in Odebrecht bribery probe

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has denied taking bribes from construction firm Odebrecht

Peruvian prosecutors ordered Monday investigations into President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's possible links to an international corruption scandal involving construction firm Odebrecht.

State corruption attorney Katherine Ampuero said she had ordered a "preliminary investigation over alleged suspect operations" involving payments by Odebrecht to Latin America Enterprise, a company linked to the president.

She also said the authority had ordered similar investigations into former president Alan Garcia, suspected of accepting a bribe for awarding Odebrecht a contract to build an underground train line.

Kuczynski has previously denied taking bribes from Odebrecht. Garcia also denied Monday's allegations in a Twitter message.

Two other ex-presidents are already subject to investigations for allegedly taking bribes: Alejandro Toledo and Kuczynski's immediate predecessor, Ollanta Humala.

Odebrecht is implicated in corruption probes in several Latin American countries, most notably its home market Brazil.

In Peru, it has admitted paying $29 million in bribes to secure public contracts.

Kuczynski in January ordered Odebrecht to pull out of Peru and stripped it of a $7 billion gas pipeline contract.

His government has warned the scandal will trim Peru's economic growth this year since it will cause delays in big development projects.