By Joshua Corpuz
On February 12, current President of Peru, Pablo Pedro Kuczynski, asked United States President Donald Trump to deport former President Alejandro Toledo Manrique from the United States.
Last week, the Peruvian Supreme Court ordered the arrest and detention of Toledo in order to investigate a large bribery he received during his presidency.
Toledo, a former pro-democracy activist, has the warrant out for his arrest due to corruption and bribery from the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht.
The alleged bribery Toledo received was in the form of $29 million for projects to be built during his own administration, from 2001 to 2006, and were continued through two of his successors. Odebrecht’s end goal was to build a major highway from Brazil to Peru’s coastline.
In 2006, Odebrecht was legally permitted to participate in the auction to build two highways, despite a ban on companies bidding for government contracts under the presidency of Toledo.
According to BBC News, Odebrecht admitted they ‘paid nearly $800 million in bribes to governments across Latin America’ as a part of their plea deal with the US justice department.
As a result, Odebrecht used the bribes across Latin America to win business in 12 different countries. Three officials have been arrested for this embezzlement.
In order to strengthen Peru’s fight against corruption, Kuczynski claimed he would allocate a larger budget. It would entail “a bigger budget for prosecutors as well as rewards and protections for whistleblowers, and a permanent ban on contracting with the state for companies that engage in graft”.
An international hunt for the arrest of Toledo has been procured by the Peruvian government. A judge in Peru issued an international arrest warrant for Toledo, as reported by the Jerusalem Post. The government offered a 100,000 soles ($30,000) reward for any information leading to his capture. Peru has stated Interpol issued a red alert to 190 member countries to help find him. However, Toledo’s name does not appear on Interpol’s list of wanted persons.
Kuczynski appeared on television the evening of February 8, and called Toledo to return to Peru in order to rectify the legal issue pertaining to the bribery.
On that same evening, rumors spread that Toledo was going to fly out to Israel to meet up with his wife, Eliane Karp, who has Israeli citizenship.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed that Toledo would be denied entry into the country, even though Israel does not have an extradition treaty with Peru.
Toledo did not fly into Israel on February 8, nor are his current whereabouts known. The Boston Herald speculated that Toledo may be residing in San Francisco, California acting as a visiting scholar at Stanford University.
Toledo is also connected to economic corruption within Israel. He is good friends with Israeli businessman Yosef Maiman, who prosecutors accuse of acting as a middleman for at least $10 million in alleged bribes. Reuters explained. Prosecutors also added that a former Odebrecht executive has said he personally negotiated the bribes with Toledo in Rio de Janeiro in 2004.
Toledo claims that if he were to return to Peru, he would want to be guaranteed a fair trial, but Judge Richard Concepcion ordered 18 months “preventive” prison when he issued an arrest warrant, according to The Guardian.
Despite denying the fugitive status given to him by his home country of Peru, Toledo recently tweeted, “I have never run away”.