Peru to seek arrest of ex-President Toledo in Odebrecht probe
Peru's attorney general makes the announcement as authorities push forward with investigations in a bribery scandal that has reverberated throughout Latin America
Authorities in Peru plan to seek the arrest of
former President Alejandro Toledo in connection with an
investigation into millions of dollars in bribes paid by
Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to win public works
contracts in the country.
Peru’s Attorney General Pablo Sanchez
said on Tuesday that he will formally request
Toledo’s detention on charges of influence
trafficking and laundering of assets. The former president is
under investigation on suspicion that he received $20m in
bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for awarding the company a
major highway contract when he was in office, according to
admitted in December to paying $800m in bribes to
secure contracts throughout Latin America, reaching a plea
agreement with the US Department of Justice in the largest
anti-corruption settlement in history. The
company’s admission has set off a wave of judicial
investigations in the region, including
Peru, where the company was involved in some of the
country’s largest infrastructure projects.
Toledo, who was president from 2001 to 2006, has
denied any wrongdoing. He is currently in Paris.
Peruvian prosecutors raided Toledo’s
home in Peru on Saturday and searched the property for more
than five hours. The search, according to local media reports,
came after authorities said they had discovered more than $10m
that was allegedly transferred to a bank accounting belonging
to a close associate of Toledo, Josef Maiman.
Maiman and Odebrecht’s former Peru
country manager, Jorge Barata, are also under investigation,
prosecutors have said.
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who served as
finance minister and prime minister under Toledo, has said he
was not aware of Odebrecht’s kickback schemes. "If
all of this is true, it’s shameful and shows a
lack of respect for our colleagues who worked so hard to make a
good government," Kuczynski said in a statement over the
weekend, referring to the allegations against Toledo.
Kuczynski is the subject of a parallel preliminary
investigation for signing a 2006 law that lifted legal hurdles
to granting road contracts. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The investigation into Toledo involves contracts
for the IIRSA highway concessions..
In the plea agreement, Odebrecht admitted it paid
bribes between 2005 and 2014 to win contracts for pipelines,
roads, metro lines and hydroelectric plants in Peru. The
projects spanned the administrations of Toledo and former
presidents Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala. Three former
officials from the Garcia administration have been
The Kuczynski administration has banned Odebrecht
from bidding for any new contracts pending the investigations
and terminated a
contract with an Odebrecht-led consortium to build and
operate the $6.5bn Gasoducto Sur Peruano (GSP) natural gas