[BBC] – Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has urged his US counterpart Donald Trump to consider deporting fugitive ex-Peruvian leader Alejandro Toledo.
Mr Toledo, who is believed to be in San Francisco, is accused of taking $20m (£16m) in bribes, which he denies. He says he is the victim of a witch-hunt. In the phone call on Sunday, Mr Kuczynski asked Mr Trump to “evaluate” the situation. So far efforts to arrest Mr Toledo have been stifled by legal complications.
Mr Toledo governed Peru from 2001 to 2006 and is accused of receiving money from Brazilian building firm Odebrecht in return for a contract to build stretches of a highway linking the country with Brazil.
A reward of $30,000 has been offered for any information leading to Mr Toledo’s capture. The US has said that it is unable to arrest the ex-leader until further information on the case against him has been shared, Peruvian officials say.
Authorities in Peru, who requested Mr Toledo’s arrest last week on charges of corruption, had feared that he could try to fly to Israel. Mr Toledo is a visiting professor at Stanford University and his wife, Eliane Karp, has Israeli citizenship.
However Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Mr Toledo would not be allowed entry into the country until “his affairs in Peru are settled”.
In a statement published on Twitter [in Spanish], the former Peruvian president denied he was a fugitive arguing he had left Peru before any charges were brought against him.
He said he would defend his “good name under conditions under which I’m not prejudged to be guilty”. Odebrecht, the firm he allegedly received bribes from, is at the centre of a multi-national corruption scandal.
It admitted, as part of a plea deal with the US justice department, to paying nearly $800m in bribes to governments across Latin America. The company said it paid $29m in Peru to secure contracts between 2005 and 2014.
That time spans the presidencies of Mr Toledo and his two successors in office, Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala, who have also denied any wrongdoing.