Peru offers reward for capture of former president
(Yahoo) –Peruvian authorities moved quickly to detain a former president tied to a region-wide graft scandal, offering a $30,000 (£24,000) reward for his capture and alerting Interpol that he may be in the U.S. or Israel.
Peru’s government said Friday that it has information that Alejandro Toledo is in San Francisco. Toledo, who governed Peru from 2001 to 2006, is a visiting scholar at Stanford University in California.
Authorities have also approached Israel because they said Toledo may have plans to take advantage of his wife’s dual Belgian-Israeli citizenship to seek refuge in the country, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the South American nation.
The international manhunt comes a day after a judge issued an arrest order for Toledo, finding that the evidence presented by prosecutors suggested there was a high probability he had received bribes from a Brazilian construction firm that has admitted to paying off officials throughout Latin America.
Toledo is accused of taking some $20 million in bribes from Odebrecht to favor the company so it could win a contract to build a highway from Brazil to Peru’s Pacific Coastline.
Toledo, who was last believed to be in Paris a week ago, has denied any wrongdoing.
Odebrecht last year admitted in a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to paying some $800 million in bribes to politicians throughout Latin America including $29 million during the 2001-2006 governments of Toledo and his two successors.
Although several countries have launched investigations, no head of state has yet to be arrested.
The precipitous fall from grace for Toledo has come as a shock to many Peruvian who never could have imagined that the one-time academic born into an impoverished family of indigenous peasants may now soon join behind bars the former strongman, Alberto Fujimori, who he helped depose during massive street protests in 2000.
A spokeswoman for Stanford said that Toledo is not an employee of the university but as a scholar has use of office space and access to libraries to conduct research for a book he’s preparing on education in Latin America. Although not paid by Stanford, he receives a stipend for his research through a gift.
“Stanford upholds every person’s right to due process. Should there be an arrest, his visiting scholar status would be on hiatus until the outcome of a trial or judicial process,” Lisa Ann Lapin said in an email, declining further comment.