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Wanted former Peruvian president to fly from US to Israel

February 12, 2017

The US has informed Peru that it will not prevent former President Alejandro Toledo from flying to Israel. The former leader is wanted over alleged money laundering and influence peddling.

Peru Ex-Präsident Alejandro Toledo
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Agentur Andina/V. Tarqui

Toledo, wanted in connection with a region-wide graft scandal, was planning to fly to Tel Aviv from San Francisco on Saturday, media reported.

The former president of Peru is accused of accepting $20 million (18.8 million euros) from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht in exchange for granting the company permission to build a road connecting Brazil with the Peruvian coast.

US authorities informed Peru on Saturday that they would not prevent Toledo from boarding his flight with the American carrier United Airlines.

On Thursday, Peruvian officials issued an arrest warrant for Toledo, arguing that the ex-president should be held in detention for 18 months while the investigation is ongoing. Earlier, authorities searched a house owned by Toledo in Lima after they found $11 million in an associate's bank account.

The bribing Brazilians

Region-wide scandal

Extraditing Toledo from Israel would be more difficult for Peruvian officials, as Lima has no formal bilateral agreement with the country.

Furthermore, the ex-president is known to have close personal ties with Israel. His wife Eliane Karp is of Belgian Jewish origin, and the man tasked with overseeing the offshore companies where Odebrecht allegedy deposited the ex-president's bribes was run by Peruvian-Israeli citizen Yosef Maiman.

Toledo is one of many prominent individuals across Latin America who have been linked to a corruption scandal involving the Brazilian company. Also on Saturday, the founders of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were arrested for allegedly hiding assets from the company.

Interpol has also issued a red-alert notice to 190 member countries to find Toledo, who led his country from 2001 to 2006. He was last presumed to be in France.

blc/jm (Reuters, EFE)