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US Judge clears the way for extradition to Peru of former President Alejandro Toledo

Thursday, September 30th 2021 - 08:53 UTC
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Toledo is one of the four former presidents of Peru involved in the Odebrecht corruption scandal Toledo is one of the four former presidents of Peru involved in the Odebrecht corruption scandal

A United States Judge Tuesday gave the green light for the extradition of former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo to his country, where he is under trial for alleged corruption, it was reported.

Toledo, who ruled Peru between 2001 and 2006 may be extradited to stand for trial for his alleged involvement in the local version of the Lava Jato scandal, which consists of the payment of bribes by a Brazilian construction firm to be awarded public works deals.

“The court heard and considered the evidence of criminality and believes that it is sufficient to support the charges of collusion and money laundering,” Californian Judge Thomas Hixon wrote in his 30-page ruling.

The final decision on whether Toledo is to be handed over to Peruvian authorities is now in the hands of the Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

According to the coordinating prosecutor of the Special Team of the Lava Jato case in Peru, Rafael Vela, it is unlikely that Blinken would have a different assessment of the extradition, although he did not rule out that Toledo's defense resorted to other legal mechanisms to try to delay or stop his surrender. to your country.

Toledo has lived in the United States since 2017. He has been charged with money laundering after having allegedly received about US $ 35 million from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for public works deals.

In July 2019, Toledo was arrested by US authorities following an extradition request from Peru. He spent eight months in prison for possible flight risk and then went on to be placed under house arrest.

The head of the First National Preparatory Investigation Court, Richard Concepción Carhuancho, announced that proceedings will start on October 21 and that Toledo would appear at hearings virtually.

Meanwhile, Toledo's defense team has announced it would file a habeas corpus request, the only judicial course of action available after Judge Hixson's decision, while the former President explained he would do “everything, inside and outside the country” to recover the name of his wife, his own and that of his family.

The 75-year-old Toledo has also claimed there were irregularities in the conditions of his detention and his right to a defense.

“The next action for my defense here in the United States is that we are going to present a 'habeas corpus, which will go to a federal judge in California, and then there are still two more instances,” said the former Peruvian president.

“It is enough to read the sentence to realize that there are inconsistencies. This decision has not been made by the judge on the day of the hearing for today; it is a decision on which he had already been working,” said Toledo's lawyer Roberto Su.

Toledo's lawyer insisted on what has been the former president's main line of defense throughout the trial: the apparent contradictions and inconsistencies of the two main witnesses in the investigation carried out by the Peruvian Prosecutor's Office, the Israeli businessman Josef Maiman and former Odebrecht employee Jorge Barata.

Toledo was arrested in 2019 in California, where he resides with his Belgian wife Eliane Karp. In March of that year, Josef Maiman, who used to be his personal friend, signed an effective collaboration agreement with the prosecution and confirmed that Odebrecht deposited not 20, but 35 million in his accounts as bribes for the former president.

Toledo is one of the four former presidents of Peru involved in the Odebrecht corruption scandal. Alan García (1985-1990, 2006-2011) committed suicide in 2019, at the age of 69, when he was going to be detained by the police in Lima, concerning this case. Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018) are also under judicial investigation.

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