Published: Sun, February 12, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Peru ex-president Alejandro Toledo faces arrest on bribery charges

Observers said the warrant marked the nadir of a precipitous fall from grace for Toledo, a one-time pro-democracy activist who headed street protests against the authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori and pledged to clamp down on rampant corruption when he took office from 2001 to 2006. Kuczynski has also been accused of participating in the Brazilian corruption case known as Operation Car Wash and has denied wrongdoing.

Peru's former President Alejandro Toledo may have fled to San Francisco from Paris after a judge ordered his arrest for allegedly taking bribes from Odebrecht SA, Peru's Justice Ministry said Friday. The company admitted handing out to a total of US$29 million in bribes for unnamed officials in Peru from about 2005 to 2014.

Judge Richard Concepcion ordered 18 months "preventive" prison and issued both a national and worldwide arrest warrant for Toledo, 70, on Thursday.

This case has exposed officials from Peru's last three governments led by Alejandro Toledo, Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.The most recent president and his wife, former first lady Nadine Heredia, are under investigation and banned from leaving the country. He was reported to be in Paris last weekend, although he resides in the USA, where he works as a researcher at Stanford University, California.

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Some Peruvians have speculated that Toledo might have traveled to Israel, where his longtime friend, Israeli businessman Yosef Maiman, is believed to live.

It was revealed by Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio on Friday morning in an interview with Canal N television. Toledo's lawyer, Heriberto Benítez, urged the court to reconsider the "excessive measure" and told reporters he would advise Toledo against returning as he would not get a fair trial, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Toledo made two unsuccessful bids for a second presidential term in 2011 and 2016 and had not ruled out a third attempt in 2021.

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