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To limit the risk of coronavirus infection, former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo released on bail

Former Peruvian President (2001-2006) Alejandro Toledo, here in Washington, in June 2016.
Former Peruvian President (2001-2006) Alejandro Toledo, here in Washington, in June 2016. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

“These are extraordinary times”, justified the Northern California district court judge after responding on Thursday, March 19, to Alejandro Toledo’s bail request. In prison for eight months in the United States, where he resided, the former Peruvian president (2001-2006), who will be 74 years old in a few days and suffers from hypertension, was considered a vulnerable person at risk of being infected with coronavirus.

In the four pages of the judgment including the Peruvian daily newspaper El Comercio transcribed extracts, the prosecution says that “The prosecution has not been able to demonstrate that there are test kits [de coronavirus] at Maguire [la prison californienne] ” If there are no confirmed cases in the detention center, there is no certainty that the virus is not present, he said. A precautionary measure, while the State of California decreed quarantine on Thursday for its 40 million inhabitants.

Sixteen years in prison required

It is therefore free for Alejandro Toledo to face his extradition trial to Peru, where he is under investigation for corruption, trading in influence and money laundering in several cases. In particular in the Odebrecht case, where he is accused of having received at least 20 million dollars (according to one last testimony, this amount could amount to 35 million) in bribes from the Brazilian construction giant contract for the construction of certain sections of the South Interoceanic road linking the Brazilian Atlantic coast to the Peruvian Pacific coast over 2,600 kilometers.

Front pages of the newspapers on ex-president Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), in Lima (Peru), in February 2017.
Front pages of newspapers on ex-president Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), in Lima (Peru), in February 2017. ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP

This money was then allegedly placed in an offshore company in Costa Rica, Ecoteva, in which his wife, the Belgo-Peruvian Eliane Karp, was also implicated. The illicit money would have benefited the couple for the purchase of several properties in Peru. Peruvian prosecution calls for 16 years in prison for Mr. Toledo and Mr.me Karp.

Mr. Toledo’s risk of running away has been tempered by the pandemic (…). Traveling abroad is now very difficult, “said the judge.

For the time being, Mr. Toledo could be released from his California prison in a few days, subject to paying a million dollar bond and returning his passport. He will then be placed under house arrest pending his extradition trial and monitored by GPS, the Californian prosecutor’s office assured. According to Judge Thomas Hixson, who released him, the risk of running away, for which he had been detained, continues, but is made more difficult today: “This problem has been tempered by the pandemic (…). Traveling abroad is now very difficult. There are travel restrictions and if Toledo arrives in another country he will be quarantined, God knows under what conditions, which should not tempt him ”, he assures.

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