US judge stops extradition of former president Toledo to Peru

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Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo Manrique has been given two more weeks to fight his extradition from the United States on corruption charges, halting proceedings for his transfer that were scheduled to begin on Friday.

On Thursday night, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ordered a 14-day stay on Toledo’s extradition to Peru. The suspension gives the 77-year-old former leader time to ask a three-judge panel to reconsider her decision to deny him stay in the United States or ask the full court to review her appeal.

Toledo is accused of accepting $20 million in bribes from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that admitted to US authorities that it had bribed officials across Latin America for decades to win contracts.

Toledo is one of four former presidents of Peru implicated in the corruption scandal. He denies the charges.

The judge in the extradition case, Thomas Hixson, ordered Toledo to surrender to US authorities on Friday after a three-judge panel of the appeals court this week denied his appeal to stop his extradition. However, Hixson reversed his order after Toledo’s last try was awarded.

Toledo, who was president of Peru from 2001 to 2006, was arrested in July 2019 at his home in Menlo Park, California. He was initially held in solitary confinement at the Santa Rita jail, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) east of San Francisco, but was released in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then he has been under house arrest.

The Odebrecht corruption scandal has rocked politics in Peru, where nearly all surviving former presidents are on trial or under investigation.

Former President Alan García, in office from 2006 to 2011, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in 2019 when police arrived at his home to arrest him.

Former President Ollanta Humala is on trial on charges that he and his wife received more than $3 million from Odebrecht for their 2006 and 2011 presidential campaigns.

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Written by Editor TLN

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