April 24, 2023
Peru's former president Alejandro Toledo was jailed on Sunday, hours after arriving back in his homeland following extradition from the United States to face charges of money laundering and corruption during his mandate.The 77-year-old, who served as Peru's president from 2001 to 2006, was flown in the evening by helicopter to the Barbadillo prison, journalists witnessed.Toledo is wanted by Peruvian prosecutors investigating a sprawling scandal involving Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht.He is accused of having received millions of dollars from Odebrecht in return for public works contracts, and prosecutors are asking that he be sentenced to more than 20 years in jail.Toledo arrived in Lima from Los Angeles in the custody of Interpol officers, who handed him over to local law enforcement, television images showed.The former president, wearing a red sweater, appeared before a judge and gave his name, age and national identity number, the judiciary tweeted along with a series of photos.Toledo had been living in the United States for several years before surrendering Friday at a federal court building in San Jose, California, where he was handed over to the US Marshals Service.Prison for ex-leadersToledo is due to remain in detention while awaiting trial in 18 months.The Barbadillo prison where Toledo was sent also houses fellow former presidents Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) and Pedro Castillo (2021-22).Castillo was ousted and arrested last December shortly after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.His arrest sparked months of street protests which left dozens dead and disrupted the countries lucrative tourism industry.Toledo's lawyer, Roberto Su, told journalists in Lima that his client "has many pains" and is suffering from "cancer." He did not offer more details.Toledo has denied the allegations against him and had filed several petitions to contest his extradition, which Peru had sought since 2018.He was first detained in 2019 and then placed under house arrest a year later and ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor.Peruvian prosecutors say they have testimony from two people who claim Toledo received bribes from Odebrecht.They are Josef Maiman, a businessman who said he used his companies to divert illicit payments from Odebrecht, and Jorge Barata, a former agent for Odebrecht in Peru.The firm has acknowledged paying bribes in Brazil and several other Latin America nations in the so-called Car Wash scandal, which has seen dozens of politicians and business figures behind bars.Four other former Peruvian presidents currently face corruption investigations. They are Ollanta Humala (president from 2011 to 2016), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-18), Martin Vizcarra (2018-20) and Castillo.Fujimori is serving a prison sentence for human rights abuses but was also convicted of corruption.Another former president, Alan Garcia, died by suicide in 2019 as police were preparing to arrest him in the Odebrecht case.© 2023 AFP
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