By Cintia Garcia
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
Lima, PERU—The Peruvian attorney general has issued an arrest warrant for the former president of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, on charges of laundering assets. Prosecutors are accusing the former president of accepting $20 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht.
Prosecutors claim that Mr. Toledo accepted bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for infrastructure contracts. These contracts included the right to build a highway extending from Brazil to Peru. It is believed that Mr. Toledo obtained the payments through Peruvian-Israeli businessman Josef Maiman, who is also being investigated. The Peruvian attorney general, Pablo Sánchez, has requested for the “precautionary imprisonment” of Mr. Toledo for 18 months during the investigation. Currently, Mr. Toledo is in Paris, France and has told the media he is innocent of the accusations. He stated, “Say when, how and where and in what bank they’ve given me $20 million.” Mr. Toledo is set to travel to Stanford where he is a visiting scholar but is willing to travel to Peru as long as he is given a fair trial.
Odebrecht has been involved in similar scandals in the region that involved the Brazilian government and the administration of ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In addition, the CEO of Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years of prison for corruption and money laundering charges. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Odebrecht had created a department within its company dedicated to bribing international government officials in exchange for public works contracts.
Mr. Toledo was president of Peru from 2001 to 2006 and rose to power after protests toppled his predecessor, Alberto K. Fujimori, who is currently serving time in prison.
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