Odebrecht case: a US judge annuls the arrest warrant against former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo

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A US judge on Friday overturned a request for the arrest of former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo for extradition to his country, where he is accused of corruption in the Odebrecht case.

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Toledo, who was president of Peru from 2001 to 2006, resides in San Francisco (California) and should be arrested this Friday, by decision of the Californian judge Thomas Hixson.

However, the magistrate had to reverse his order after an appeals court on Thursday conceded a request by Toledo’s defense to delay the extradition by 14 days.

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“Because Toledo cannot currently be extradited, the court is canceling his arrest warrant and directing sheriffs not to detain him,” Hixson said.

The magistrate had ordered on April 5 that the former Peruvian president be detained this Friday so that the US State Department could proceed with the extradition approved last February.

However, Hixson said Thursday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered a 14-day stay on the extradition “to give Toledo an opportunity to ask the court for a review.”

In addition, the former president’s defense has asked Hixson that, if appropriate, his surrender order be modified for possible subsequent detention in San José court instead of San Francisco courts.

Toledo, 77, was arrested in 2019 in California and spent 8 months in prison for flight risk, although he later accepted the benefit of house arrest in March 2020, with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.

Last September, the US judiciary gave the green light to his extradition to Peru, having found sufficient evidence to justify this measure, approved last February by the State Department.

Toledo is accused of having received about 34 million dollars from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, through a network of companies in tax havens through which it acquired million-dollar real estate properties in Peru.

In particular, Toledo was investigated for the alleged commission of money laundering, collusion and trafficking in influence, in relation to the contracts awarded to Odebrecht for the construction of the Interoceanic Route between Brazil and Peru.

The Odebrecht case, the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America, also affected former Peruvian presidents Alan García (1985-1990 and 2006-2011), Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), as well as three-time presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter and political heiress of former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000).

Source: Clarin

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