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US grants extradition of Peru’s former President Alejandro Toledo

Toledo, who served as Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006, is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from a Brazilian construction company.

The United States has granted the extradition of Peruvian former President Alejandro Toledo over corruption allegations, Peru’s attorney general office has said, adding that the country’s justice system has been coordinating with national and foreign authorities for the execution of the order.

“We have been informed that the US State Department granted the extradition of Alejandro Toledo Manríque for the crimes of collusion and money laundering,” read a tweet from the public prosecutor published on Wednesday.

Peru requested the extradition of Toledo – who served as the country’s president from 2001 to 2006 – in 2018 on charges he took millions of dollars in bribes from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company involved in an extensive corruption case across South America.

Toledo was detained by US authorities in 2019, but released to house arrest in 2020.

“We do not have a set deadline [for the extradition] at the moment, but it is unlikely to take months,” Alfredo Rebaza, the head of the attorney general’s extradition office, said on the Canal N television station, adding that logistics would now begin with Interpol and US authorities.

A US judge ruled in September 2021 that the charges against Toledo met the standards laid out in the extradition treaty between the US and Peru. Still, the State Department had to give its final say before US authorities could proceed.

Toledo, who as of August 2022 lived in California, has denied soliciting or receiving bribes and has not been criminally charged in the US.

Toledo has lived in the US since the end of his presidency, with a brief break in 2011 when he ran for a second term, but was defeated in the first round.

A Peruvian prosecutor has requested 20 years and 6 months in prison for Toledo for a case linked to the construction of two sections of a highway connecting southern Peru with Brazil.

Toledo has admitted that Odebrecht paid at least $34m and that he received part of that money, but claims he is innocent of the charges and says that a late businessman, Josef Maiman, was in charge of the business dealings, according to Peruvian media.

As of Wednesday morning, the US State Department had yet to release a statement over the authorisation of Toledo’s extradition.

The former president is one in a long list of former Peruvian presidents either facing legal proceedings or already convicted on corruption charges.

Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is also under investigation for alleged money laundering. Another former president facing arrest, Alan Garcia, died by suicide in 2019.

Source: Aljazeera