21 April 2023

Ex-president set to be extradited from US to Peru over corruption charges

21 April 2023

Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo Manrique has surrendered to US federal agents to be extradited to Peru, where he faces charges of accepting millions of dollars in bribes.

Toledo’s surrender ends a years-long legal battle against his extradition, which started in 2019 when he was arrested at his home in Menlo Park, California.

Federal prosecutors said Peruvian officials will travel to northern California to pick up Toledo and fly him back to Peru.

Toledo, who was Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006, is accused of taking at least 20 million dollars in bribes from Odebrecht, a giant Brazilian construction company that has admitted to US authorities that it bribed officials to win contracts throughout Latin America for decades.

He has denied the charges.

He sought a stay on his extradition, pending a legal challenge to the US State Department’s decision to send him back to Peru, but a court of appeals denied his latest motion this week and a federal judge ordered him to surrender.

After his arrest, Toledo was initially held in solitary confinement at the Santa Rita Jail about 40 miles east of San Francisco, but was released in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and his deteriorating mental health. He was held under house arrest after that.

Toledo has been living in California since 2016 when he returned to Stanford University, his alma mater, as a visiting scholar to study education in Latin America.

His ties to the San Francisco Bay Area go back to the 1970s when he was an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco and then a graduate student at Stanford University.

Toledo, 77, is one of four ex-presidents linked to the Odebrecht corruption scandal that has shaken Peru’s politics, with nearly every living former president now on trial or under investigation.

Former president Ollanta Humala is standing trial on charges that he and his wife received over 3 million dollars from Odebrecht for his presidential campaigns in 2006 and 2011. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Ex-leader Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who left office in 2018, is under house arrest for similar charges.

Former leader Alan Garcia, who was in office from 2006-2011, killed himself in 2019 as police arrived at his home to arrest him.

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