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Extradition near for Peru ex-president, nation’s third jailed leader

By Marco Aquino and Brendan O’Brien
LIMA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo surrendered to U.S. authorities on Friday, a U.S. Marshals Service official told Reuters, a day after his last-ditch bid to block his extradition to Peru over corruption charges was denied.

The former leader, who has taught classes at Stanford University, is set to make unwanted history as the South American nation’s third former president currently behind bars as he awaits prosecution.

Toledo, president from 2001 to 2006, is wanted in Peru over charges that he received some $35 million from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for help in obtaining public works contracts. Prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison sentence.

Toledo, 77, has denied soliciting or receiving bribes. On Thursday, a U.S. federal judge denied his latest bid to block his extradition.

He will be moved to Peru’s capital Lima in two or three days, Silvana Carrion, the local prosecutor handling the case, said on local broadcaster Canal N.

Toledo was arrested in the United States in 2019 after a formal request by Peru for his extradition. He was released on bail the following year and was living in California until at least last year.

His surrender likely signals progress in Peru’s anti-corruption fight and could lead to further revelations, according to David Waisman, Toledo’s former vice president.

“I’m sure he’s going to rat out the people involved in an effort to get his prison term shortened,” Waisman told Reuters.

Authorities say Toledo is likely to be held in a prison outside Lima, where two other former presidents, right-wing Alberto Fujimori and leftist Pedro Castillo, are currently held.

Fujimori, who governed between 1990 and 2000, is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses. Castillo is being held in pre-trial detention while under investigation for rebellion charges after trying to dissolve Congress in December.

Prosecutors have asked for 18 months of pre-trial detention for Toledo, an economist who won the presidency after a graft scandal involving Fujimori.

Nearly all of Peru’s presidents over the past three decades have been accused of or investigated for corruption.

“This is a reflection of the work in the fight against corruption in the country, with all the problems it has,” said criminal lawyer Carlos Caro.

Odebrecht acknowledged in a 2017 deal in the U.S. that it paid some $29 million to win concessions in Peru between 2005 and 2014 during the governments of Toledo, Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.

Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, also under investigation for the Odebrecht case, was under house arrest on accusations of bribery, while Garcia shot himself in 2019 to avoid arrest.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima and Brendan O’Brien in Washington; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)

Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.

Source: The Print

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