Peru court orders arrest of ex-president for bribery

A Peruvian court has issued an international warrant for the arrest of ex-President Alejandro Toledo on suspicions of taking bribes from a Brazilian construction giant at the heart of a region-wide corruption scandal.

Judge Richard Concepcion late on Thursday accepted a request by prosecutors that Toledo be jailed as they investigate allegations he received $20m in bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for permission to build a highway connecting Brazil with the Peruvian coast.

The order calls on Toledo to be placed under “preventative custody” for 18 months, while demanding for his “immediate location, capture and confinement.”

Toledo, who is believed to be in the French capital, Paris, has denied any wrongdoing.

“Say when, how and where and in what bank they’ve given me $20m,” Toledo said in an interview with a local radio station over the weekend.

Odebrecht, once Latin America’s biggest construction company, has admitted to paying almost $800m in bribes to governments across the region as part of a December plea agreement with the US justice department.

In Peru, the company acknowledged paying $29m for projects built during the government of Toledo and two successors.

Toledo, a former World Bank economist, served as Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006.

— Al Jazeera.

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