Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Peru search home of ex-President Toledo in corruption case

The Peruvian government has offered a $30,000 (approximately Rs 2 lakh) reward for the capture of former President Alejandro Toledo, who is an accused in a corruption case, AP reported.

An arrest warrant and hefty reward was issued through Interpol on Thursday night for his alleged role in an worldwide scandal involving Odebrecht, a construction conglomerate from Brazil.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Odebrecht has pleaded guilty and agreed in December to pay between US$ 2.6 billion and US$ 4.5 billion in a settlement with authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland for paying nearly US$ 800 million in bribes to government officials around the world. He was last known to be in France a week ago.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, lead prosecutor Hamilton Castro said.

"Say when, how and where and in what bank they've given me $20m", Toledo said in an interview with a local radio station over the weekend. "With judges like this, careful!"

The current president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has urged him to return to the country to face questioning.

Odebrecht, once Latin America's biggest construction company, has admitted to paying nearly $800m in bribes to governments across the region as part of a December plea agreement with the United States justice department.

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Toledo served as president from 2001 to 2006.

Toledo has earned postgraduate economics degrees from Stanford University, near San Francisco, and has lectured there.

Prosecutor Castro opened his case, that Toledo be jailed while investigations continue, quoting the Incan law "ama sua" or "do not steal".

Former Peru President Toledo is booked on an flight from San Francisco to Tel Aviv. Toledo did, however, change laws to pave the way for Odebrecht's bid and pressured the tendering committee to pick its proposal, Castro said.

Some Peruvians have speculated that Toledo might have traveled to Israel, where his longtime friend, Israeli businessman Yosef Maiman, is believed to live.

The U.S. and Israeli embassies in Lima did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The contracts helped pave a highway from the Andes through the Amazon to connect Peru's Pacific ports and Brazil's Atlantic shores.

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