Peru offers reward for the capture of former president, Alejandro Toledo

12 February, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Essie Rivera

Peru asked for worldwide help in finding former president Alejandro Toledo, wanted in connection with a far-reaching bribery probe, saying on Friday that he was likely now in San Francisco and may try to flee to Israel.

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 USA dollars was given to me".

The money was allegedly paid by Odebrecht to win contracts to build stages II and III of the Interoceanic highway between Peru and Brazil.

Peruvian authorities say they have searched the house of ex-President Alejandro Toledo in a case involving alleged bribes from a mega construction firm under investigation in a major corruption probe in Brazil. The company admitted handing out to a total of US$29 million in bribes for unnamed officials in Peru from about 2005 to 2014. Peru put Toledo on its most wanted criminals list after a judge issued an worldwide arrest warrant on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Peru's attorney general's office has formally charged Toledo with asset laundering and influence trafficking.

"Anyone in the world who can help us find him can claim the reward", Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said on Canal N TV station.

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

Officials suspect the leader may try to enter Israel, as his wife Eliane Karp has dual Belgian-Israeli citizenship and Peru has no extradition treaty with the country.

Toledo's lawyer, Heriberto Benitez, denied that Toledo was on the run and told Reuters he was waiting for the results of an appeal.

After the judge's decision late on Thursday, Benitez said he would recommend Toledo not return to Peru because of a justice system he called "vindictive".

That time spans the presidencies of Mr Toledo and his two successors in office, Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.

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