LIMA – A Peruvian judge said on Monday that he will ask the United States to extradite former President Alejandro Toledo to face charges of taking a $20 million bribe from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for awarding the company a lucrative highway contract.
It was a year ago that the same magistrate, Richard Concepcion, issued an international warrant for the arrest of the 71-year-old Toledo, who resides in California.
The next step in the process is for Concepcion to submit the request to Peru’s Supreme Court. If the high court approves, the foreign ministry will have the final say whether to formally ask Washington to hand over the former head of state.
Toledo, who governed from Peru from 2001-2006, is accused of influence-trafficking, conspiracy and money laundering.
The charges arose from an investigation spurred by a massive settlement that Odebrecht and petrochemical unit Braskem reached in December 2016 with authorities in the United States, 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, now a visiting scholar at Stanford University, is just one of a number of Peruvian political heavyweights caught up in the Odebrecht scandal, including presidential successors Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.