Handout picture distributed by the Peruvian National Police showing Peru’s former president Alejandro Toledo being escorted on arrival after being extradited from the United States, at the Jorge Chavez international airport in Callao, Lima, on April 23, 2023. (HANDOUT / PERUVIAN NATIONAL POLICE / AFP)
LIMA – Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo returned on Sunday to Peru from the United States, becoming the third head of state to be imprisoned as the South American country seeks to shake off years of corruption by its rulers.
Toledo, 77, has been ordered to serve a pre-trial detention of 18 months inside a police base on the outskirts of the capital Lima, an official statement said.
Former presidents Alberto Fujimori and Pedro Castillo are held at the same prison.
Citing health issues, Toledo's lawyer told reporters that he would seek permission for him to be placed under house arrest instead.
Peruvian authorities have accused former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo of receiving $35 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for winning the construction of the Interoceanica Sur highway
Toledo, president between 2001 and 2006, had turned himself in on Friday for extradition and arrived on Sunday morning at the airport in Lima.
Peruvian authorities have accused Toledo of receiving $35 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for winning the construction of the Interoceanica Sur highway.
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He denies the allegations of corruption by prosecutors, whose charges include money laundering and collusion. They have requested a 20-year prison sentence.
The extradition process began in 2018. Toledo had been declared a fugitive in his country the previous year when he traveled to the United States amid corruption investigations against him and others.
Toledo, an economist with a doctorate from Stanford University, became the second former Peruvian president to be extradited. Fujimori was extradited from Chile and is serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses.
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Meanwhile, Castillo is in pre-trial detention while being investigated over allegations of "rebellion" after trying to illegally dissolve Congress in December.
Former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is also being investigated in the Odebrecht case and was under house arrest while former president Alan Garcia shot himself in the head to avoid arrest in 2019 and died in hospital.