Friday, June 21, 2024

Peru's ex-president Alejandro Toledo will be extradited from the US


Alejandro Toledo, a former Peruvian president, will be extradited to Peru to face corruption charges after surrendering to US authorities on Friday.

Toledo – which ruled the country, a major producer of copper between 2001 and 2006 – turned itself in to federal agents in California on Friday morning, a day after a federal judge in Washington refused its attempt to block extradition. Denied, lapses into a year-long legal battle

“I ask the Peruvian justice not to kill me in prison,” Toledo said in an interview with EFE news agency on Thursday before surrendering. “Let me fight the arguments.”

Peruvian prosecutor Silvana Carrion told local media that the 77-year-old Toledo was expected to be transferred to Peru’s capital, Lima, in two to three days.

The former president is accused of accepting at least $25 million in bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for fulfilling public contracts. Prosecutors in Peru are seeking a 20-year sentence for Toledo, who denies the charges.

If detained before trial in Peru, as prosecutors have requested, he would be the country’s third former president behind bars.

Alberto Fujimori is serving a sentence for embezzlement and human rights abuses committed during his authoritarian rule of the country between 1990 and 2000. Pedro Castillo, who was arrested last December after attempting to shut down Congress and rule by decree, is in pre-trial detention at the same military facility on the outskirts of Lima.

Toledo is the fourth former Peruvian president to be embroiled in the Odebrecht scandal, one of the biggest corruption scandals in Latin America involving politicians in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.

Two other former Peruvian presidents, Ollanta Humala and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, are both accused of accepting bribes from the company, while Alan Garcia – who ruled the country from 2006 to 2011 – died after shooting himself in the head as police Arrived for arrest. His.

Toledo has been living in the Bay Area of ​​America since 2016. He was arrested in July 2019 at his home in Menlo Park, California, following Peru’s request for extradition. Since then, he has served time in solitary confinement at Santa Rita Prison, and in 2020 he was transferred to house arrest. He was never charged in the US.

Toledo’s government has been praised for overseeing rapid economic development following Fujimori’s authoritarian rule and leading the country toward democracy. However, his upcoming extradition signals Peru’s failure to fully transition to a stable democracy, analysts warn. The country has been grappling with political instability due to having had six presidents in the last five years.

“Peru needs a shock to revive confidence in its politics, politicians and parties,” said Rodolfo Rojas, an analyst at Sequoia, a Lima-based political risk advisory. “It will be a long process fraught with uncertainty.”