Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States on Tuesday following an extradition request from his home country where he faces corruption charges.
Toledo, who served as president from 2001 to 2006, is a fugitive from Peruvian justice for allegedly receiving $20 million from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for aid to win public works contracts.
He was arrested in northern California yesterday and held in custody pending a hearing on Friday, according to the US justice department.
The former president is a fugitive from Peruvian justice for allegedly receiving $20m from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company at the center of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal.
Odebrecht has admitted to paying $800m to officials throughout the region in exchange for lucrative public works contracts.
Peru formally requested his extradition from the United States a year ago.
“This will be the ex-president’s first appearance before US judicial authorities, as part of the process aiming to return him to the country,” the public ministry said in a post.
Toledo is one of four former Peruvian presidents to be sucked into the vast Odebrecht scandal: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested in April over allegations of bribery linked to the investigation. His predecessor Ollanta Humala was detained in 2017 and awaits trial.
Humala’s predecessor, Alán García, shot himself in the head to avoid arrest in April, also in connection with alleged bribes from the Brazilian builder.
Heriberto Benítez, Toledo’s lawyer in Lima, told local radio station RPP that the defense will try to show that the ex-president faces political persecution in Peru.
Toledo, 73, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He had been a visiting scholar at Stanford University as recently as 2017, though the school has said it was an unpaid position.