Peru ex-leader Toledo loses bid to stop extradition from US

Peru ex-leader Toledo loses bid to stop extradition from US

Baku, April 6, AZERTAC

A U.S. appeals court panel on Wednesday denied an appeal by former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo Manrique to stop his extradition to face charges he accepted millions of dollars in bribes as part of a mammoth corruption scandal in which four of Peru's ex-presidents have been implicated, according to Associated Press.

Toledo, 77, is accused of taking $20 million in bribes from Odebrecht, a giant Brazilian construction company that has admitted to U.S. authorities that it bribed officials to win contracts throughout Latin America for decades. He had sought a stay on his extradition pending a legal challenge to the U.S. State Department’s decision to send him back to Peru.

Toledo, who was Peru’s president in 2001-2006, was arrested in July 2019 at his home in Menlo Park, California. He was initially held in solitary confinement at the Santa Rita Jail about 40 miles (60 kilometers) east of San Francisco, but was released in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been under house arrest since then.

The judge in the extradition case, Thomas Hixson, revoked Toledo’s bail Wednesday and ordered him to surrender to U.S. marshals in San Francisco by 9 a.m. Friday to be returned to jail, at the request of U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey. Ramsey said that the U.S. Marshals Service would move to turn him over to Peruvian authorities. But when that might happen was unclear.

The Odebrecht corruption scandal 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 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 García, in office in 2006-2011, fatally shot himself in the head in 2019 as police arrived at his home to arrest him.

In his effort to stay the extradition order, Toledo argued that Peru hadn't submitted a charging document or shown probable cause. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in its ruling that Peruvian prosecutors have filed charging documents that are sufficient to support Toledo’s extradition.

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