MANILA — The woman at the center of a wide-ranging corruption scandal in the Philippines surrendered to President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday night, ending a nationwide dragnet that had detectives searching airports and yacht clubs.
Janet Lim-Napoles, a wealthy Manila businesswoman, was arrested on a warrant accusing her of the “illegal detention” of a witness who claims that she helped divert millions of dollars away from poverty-reduction programs and into the coffers of lawmakers and their associates. Justice Department officials have said they are preparing additional charges against Lim-Napoles related to the scandal.
The case triggered outrage in the Philippines when photos emerged on social media sites showing Lim-Napoles’s daughter enjoying lavish vacations in Europe and the United States, posing on a Porsche and in a limousine, and hobnobbing with celebrities.
On Monday, tens of thousands of Filipinos gathered here in Manila to protest the brewing corruption scandal.
A government investigation, and subsequent local media outlets, discovered muddy mountain tracks where government-financed roads were supposed to have been built. Other bogus projects include ramshackle buildings that were financed as modern community centers.
The government investigation, which alleges that at least $140 million was diverted from poverty programs into the pockets of politicians, also found that bogus organizations were set up to receive the funds.
In some cases, the relatives of politicians authorizing the payments were the directors of the organizations receiving the money.
Lim-Napoles has denied the allegations against her.