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Peru's wanted former President Toledo barred from entering Israel

Israel's Foreign Ministry says Alejandro Toledo, who is wanted on graft charges in Peru, will be refused entry. Peru has called on the US administration to consider sending the former leader back to his homeland.

Israeli officials were responding to reports that ex-Peruvian President Alexjandro Toledo had boarded a flight to Tel Aviv from the United States.

"Toledo will be allowed in Israel only when his affairs in Peru are settled," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement on Sunday.

The former leader, whose wife, Eliane Karp, has Israeli citizenship, is thought to be considering fleeing to the Middle Eastern state to avoid arrest in his homeland, officials have said.

In a phone call on Sunday, Peru's current president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, urged the United States to consider sending Toledo back to Peru.

The state news agency reported that "President Kuczynski has asked Donald Trump to evaluate ... with the State Department the idea of sending Toledo back to Peru." 

Bribery allegations

An international manhunt was launched for the 70-year-old Toledo after a judge ordered his arrest over accusations that he took $20 million (18.8 million euros) in bribes.

Toledo is alleged to have accepted the cash from Brazil's family-run conglomerate Odebrecht to help the company win a contract to build a highway from Brazil to Peru's Pacific Coastline.

In a plea agreement with the US Justice Department last year, Odebrecht admitted to paying some $800 million in bribes to politicians throughout Latin America, including $29 million during the 2001-2006 governments of Toledo and his two successors.

Lima Apec-Gipfel Alejandro Toledo (picture alliance / Vidal Tarqui/Agentur Andina/dpa)

Toledo, a one-time anti-corruption champion, was president of Peru from 2001-6

Paris, US then Israel?

Toledo, who was last believed to be in Paris a week ago, has denied any wrongdoing. But he has been unable to account for receiving such a large sum.

He told authorities it was a loan from his mother-in-law that came from compensation she received as a Holocaust survivor, but that claim has been discounted.

Peru's government said it now had information that the ex-president was in San Francisco and could try to flee to Israel, which does not have an extradition treaty with the South American state.

US authorities said they would not bar Toledo from leaving for Israel.

Watch video 01:11

The bribing Brazilians

mm/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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