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Peru's ex-president Toledo sought on bribery allegations

A Peruvian court has ordered the arrest of former-President Alejandro Toledo, who's currently in Paris. He's denied wrongdoing over bribes allegedly taken from the Brazilian construction concern Odebrecht.

Peruvian judge Richard Concepcion granted a request from prosecutors that Toledo be taken into custody while they probe allegations that he took up to $20 million (18.7 million euros) in bribes during the construction of a highway network.

Investigators raided Toledo's house in Lima last Saturday and took away documents.

The "Interoceanica" connects Brazil's Amazon state of Acre with port cities along Peru's southern coastline and resulted from 2004 between the countries' then-presidents, Toledo and Brazil'sLuiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The highway segment inside Peru cost $2.1 billion, instead of the planned $850 million. Toledo was president from 2001 until 2006.

Unproven allegations, claims Toledo

From Paris, Toledo has denied wrongdoing, telling the Peruvian television channel Cuarto poder: "They should say, when, where and through which bank the 20 million US dollars was given to me."

The accusations emerged from a giant scandal in Brazil involving its oil company Petrobras.

Among plea bargains to emerge was a claim from Odebrecht's former chief in Peru, Jorge Barata, that the company gave Toledo's government a $20-million bribe for the highway project.

Investigators said they traced $11 million in bribes to accounts of a Toledo friend, deposited between 2005 and 2008. They allege the money then went offshore.

ipj/sms (dpa, AP, AFP)

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