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Peru to seek arrest of ex-President Toledo in Odebrecht probe

Feb 7, 2017

Peru's attorney general makes the announcement as authorities push forward with investigations in a bribery scandal that has reverberated throughout Latin America

Keywords: bribery corruption Alejandro Toledo Odebrecht Peru

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 prosecutors.

Odebrecht  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 arrested.

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 pipeline.

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  • Harald Ort Feb 10, 2017

    Anybody who is crossing the boarder between Peru and Brazil is very astonished to see the good conditions of the Highway which should connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean on Peruvian side, but the really bad conditions on Brazilian side. How will the Highway ever be used as transport route of these two countries? More astonishing is that just a Brazilian multinational company is responsible for the good conditions on Peruvian side! Why does Brazil not act and fulfill the promises to build a good highway on their side to improve the commerce with Asia?
    Instead of improving this highway in the state Acre, Brazil is constructing the Highway from Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, to Santarem, Pará, and finally in Santarem big shipping facilities for worldwide shipments of soya and tropical wood, using the river Amazonas,

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