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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaPeru's Former President Toledo Jailed for Corruption Charges

Peru’s Former President Toledo Jailed for Corruption Charges

Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo was arrested on Sunday, moments after arriving in his home country following his extradition from the United States. The 77-year-old, who served as the President of Peru from 2001 to 2006, was flown to Barbadillo prison by helicopter, where he will remain in custody while he awaits trial for charges of money laundering and corruption during his tenure.

Toledo is accused of receiving millions of dollars from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for public works contracts. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of more than 20 years in jail.

Toledo had been living in the United States for several years before his extradition. Interpol officers took him into custody in Los Angeles, and he was subsequently handed over to the US Marshals Service in San Jose, California. Toledo had denied the allegations against him and had filed several petitions to contest his extradition, which Peru had sought since 2018.

The Barbadillo prison, where Toledo is being held, is also home to other former presidents, including Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) and Pedro Castillo (2021-22). Castillo was arrested in December 2022 after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, which sparked months of street protests in the country. The arrests of several former Peruvian presidents have led to a crackdown on corruption in the country.

Toledo’s lawyer, Roberto Su, told journalists in Lima that his client “has many pains” and is suffering from “cancer,” but he did not provide further details. Toledo is due to remain in detention while he awaits trial, which is expected to take place in 18 months.

Peruvian prosecutors have accused Toledo of receiving bribes from Odebrecht, and they have testimony from two people to support their claims. Josef Maiman, a businessman, said he used his companies to divert illicit payments from Odebrecht, while Jorge Barata, a former agent for Odebrecht in Peru, also provided testimony.

The firm has acknowledged paying bribes in Brazil and several other Latin American nations in the so-called Car Wash scandal, which has seen dozens of politicians and business figures imprisoned.

Toledo is one of several former Peruvian presidents facing corruption investigations. Ollanta Humala (president from 2011 to 2016), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-18), Martin Vizcarra (2018-20), and Pedro Castillo are also under investigation.

Fujimori is serving a prison sentence for human rights abuses but was also convicted of corruption. Alan Garcia, another former president, died by suicide in 2019 as police were preparing to arrest him in the Odebrecht case.

The crackdown on corruption in Peru has been ongoing, with the arrests of several high-profile figures leading to calls for systemic change in the country. Corruption has long been a problem in Peru, with allegations of bribery and embezzlement involving government officials and business figures.

The arrests of former presidents like Toledo have sent a message that no one is above the law and that corruption will not be tolerated. The hope is that the crackdown will lead to a more transparent and accountable government in Peru.

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