Crime & Justice

US court delays Toledo’s extradition to Peru

Washington, Apr 7 (EFE).- A federal court in the United States put Friday’s scheduled extradition of former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo to his homeland on hold for 14 days pending a decision on his appeal.

The ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, prompted US Magistrate Judge Thomas Hixson to revoke the warrant he had issued for Toledo’s arrest.

Toledo, now 77, was arrested in July 2019 at his home in Menlo Park, California, pursuant to an extradition request submitted by Peru in May 2018.

The request came after a judge in Lima found evidence that Toledo took a $20 million bribe from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for awarding the company a lucrative highway contract during his 2001-2006 presidency.

Deemed a flight risk, Toledo spent eight months behind bars before he was granted home confinement in March 2020 due to Covid-19.

Judge Hixson ruled in September 2021 that Toledo could be extradited and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken subsequently approved sending the ex-president home to face justice.

The charges against Toledo arose from an investigation spurred by a massive settlement that Odebrecht and its petrochemical unit, Braskem, reached in December 2016 with authorities in the US, Brazil and Switzerland.

The Brazilian companies pleaded guilty and agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges arising out of bid-rigging schemes that began as early as 2001 and involved the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to officials in more than a dozen countries.

Toledo is just one of the Peruvian political heavyweights to have been caught up in the Odebrecht scandal, including presidential successors Alan Garcia, Ollanta Humala and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Garcia took his own life in April 2019 when police came to his home in Lima to arrest him. Kuczynski, 84, has been awaiting trial under house arrest since 2019, while the 60-year-old Humala remains under investigation.

Another figure implicated in the Odebrecht scandal is three-time presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving life in prison for massacres committed during his 1990-2000 rule.

EFE er/dr

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