Fourth Peruvian ex-president arrested in graft probe

Peruvian ex-president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 and is due for extradition, according to the country’s Prosecution Service.

The agency took to Twitter to announce the arrest of the fourth Peruvian statesman under corruption charges in recent times.

The ex-leader is likely to appear before American authorities for the first time, as part of the judicial process to be sent back to his country.

The number of contemporary Peruvian presidents under prosecution amounts to four, but does not include President Alberto Fujimori‘s conviction in 2009 — the only instance of a democratically elected head of state being tried and convicted of human rights abuses in his own country — nor that of President General Francisco Morales-Bermúdez in 2017 by Italian judge Luisianna Figliolia, for the forced disappearance of 25 Italian nationals in the context of ‘Operación Cóndor’ — a campaign of political oppression against leftist leaders orchestrated by the right-wing dictatorships of South America in the 1970s.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, elected in 2016, resigned last year and is under house arrest. His predecessor, Ollanta Humala (2011-16), together with wife Nadine Heredia, remain in preventive detention.

And, shockingly, President Alan García (1985-1990, 2006-2011), at the time leader of the oldest political party in Latin America (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance – APRA), refused to surrender to police and committed suicide on April 17, 2019 before being arrested.

Mr Toledo faces an extradition process within the framework of the Odebrecht case, for which he also faces an 18-month preventive detention order since February 2017.

A Stanford-educated economist and the first elected indigenous president in Latin America (2001-2006), Mr Toledo is said to have been living in Los Altos, California while fighting extradition to Peru after an arrest warrant was issued in 2017 on charges of bribery.

In March 2019, Peruvian-Israeli entrepreneur Josef Maiman signed an ‘effective collaboration’ agreement with the prosecution and confirmed that Odebrecht deposited around $35 million in Mr Toledo’s accounts in exchange for public works contracts.

Also, former Odebrecht representative in Peru, Jorge Barata, told the special judicial team prosecuting that he paid bribes to Alejandro Toledo for the construction of sections 2 and 3 of the Interoceanica Sur highway.

Mr Barata said Mr Toledo asked him through an envoy to convince other construction companies to give him illegal money for section 4 of the same project.

In addition to that, the Prosecution Service began to push charges against the former president for the Ecoteva case.

According to coordinator of the prosecution team, Rafael Jala, this accusation might have facilitated the process against Mr Toledo.

He has always denied any wrongdoing.

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