Peru judge orders Kuczynski graft probe to be redone in reprieve for former president

Peru's former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is seen at a court, after his arrest as part of an investigation into money laundering, in Lima

LIMA (Reuters) -A Peruvian judge ruled on Monday that an investigation into alleged money laundering involving former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski needed to be done again, a short-term victory for one of several embattled former presidents of the country.

Prosecutors in early May filed money laundering and criminal organization charges against Kuczynski and asked for 35 years behind bars for the economist and former banker, who took office in July 2016 but resigned in March 2018 amid an investigation into alleged ties to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

The court's decision was made after Kuczynski's lawyers filed an appeal to stop the process, contending that the prosecution's investigation had affected Kuczynski's right to defense.

Kuczynski, often known as "PPK" for his initials, has denied any wrongdoing in connection with Odebrecht.

Investigations into Odebrecht's decades of graft have ensnared public officials across Latin America, including Peru's former President Alan Garcia, who died by suicide to avoid arrest in 2019, and Alejandro Toledo, who was extradited from the U.S. to Peru last month.

Toledo is currently being held in the same prison as former Presidents Alberto Fujimori, who governed in the 1990s and is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, and Pedro Castillo, who is being investigated over allegations of "rebellion" after trying to dissolve Congress in December.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Tom Hogue and Himani Sarkar)