Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who was investigated for corruption and money laundering in connection with the Odebrecht bribery scandal, has been detained in a Lima prison. The 77-year-old former president, who has been diagnosed with cancer according to his lawyers, will serve 18 months in preventive detention while awaiting trial. Toledo was extradited from the United States where he had resided after working at Stanford University. He had turned himself in at a federal court in San José, California, after being accused of receiving millions of dollars from Odebrecht in exchange for public works tenders. Prosecutors are asking for 20 years and six months in prison for Toledo, who has always claimed innocence.
Toledo will be held in the Barbadillo prison, where former presidents Pedro Castillo (2021-2022) and Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) are also imprisoned. The Judiciary announced that the transfer to the prison was made by helicopter from Los Cibeles police station, on a 15-minute night flight. Upon arrival in Lima, the authorities performed a medical examination on him and he appeared before a judge at a hearing to verify his identity.
During the hearing, Toledo looked exhausted and was seen wearing jeans, a green jacket, and a red vest. He had been arrested in 2019 in the United States and was initially jailed, but in 2020, he was placed under house arrest with an electronic anklet. Toledo’s lawyer, Roberto Su, told reporters in Lima that his defendant has cancer but did not provide further details.
Toledo’s case is part of the mega-scandal involving Brazilian construction company Odebrecht’s bribery payments to politicians and businessmen in Latin America. The scandal, known as Lava Jato, uncovered corruption linked to Odebrecht in Brazil and other countries in the region. The testimonies of Toledo’s former collaborator and former Odebrecht representative in Peru, Josef Maiman and Jorge Barata, respectively, have been instrumental in the case against him.
Toledo’s imprisonment comes as four other former Peruvian presidents, Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), Martín Vizcarra (2018-2020), and Pedro Castillo (2021-2022), face legal proceedings for corruption charges. Former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was also convicted of corruption, in addition to crimes against humanity, and Alan García (2006-2011) committed suicide in 2019 when the police were about to arrest him on suspicion of being linked to the Odebrecht case.