| 18 July 2024, Thursday |

Peru’s Toledo returns home to join two other former heads of state in jail

Alejandro Toledo, a former president of Peru, arrived back from the United States on Sunday. He will likely be the third head of state to be imprisoned as the South American nation attempts to rid itself of decades of political corruption.

The 77-year-old Toledo will probably serve his time in a police facility outside of Lima, where former presidents Alberto Fujimori and Pedro Castillo are also detained.

Official images shared by Peruvian authorities showed Toledo arriving at Lima airport. Toledo, president between 2001 and 2006, turned himself in on Friday for extradition.

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.

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 former collaborators.

Toledo, an economist by profession and with a doctorate from Stanford University in the United States, 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.

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.

“We have this sad record of three former presidents in jail,” criminal lawyer Carlos Caro said. “There is no precedent in the region or anywhere else in the world.”

  • Reuters