US judge approves extradition of Peru’s ex-President Toledo
San Francisco, Sep 28 (EFE).- A federal judge in the United States ruled Tuesday that Peruvian former President Alejandro Toledo can be extradited to his homeland to stand trial for corruption.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will have the final word on whether Toledo, 75, is to be turned over to Peruvian authorities.
“The court has heard and considered the evidence of criminality and deems it sufficient to sustain the charges of collusion and money laundering under the provisions of the extradition treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Peru,” Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson wrote.
Peru submitted the extradition request to Washington in May 2018, 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.
Toledo was arrested in July 2019 at his home in Menlo Park, California, and spent eight months behind bars before he was granted home confinement in March 2020 due to Covid-19.
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 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.