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Ex-president Toledo returns to Peru after US extradition

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Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo has returned to Peru from the United States to face charges of money laundering and corruption during his mandate.

The 77-year-old, who served as Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006, is wanted by Peruvian prosecutors investigating a sprawling scandal involving Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht.

He is accused of having received millions of dollars from Odebrecht in return for public works contracts.

Official images shared by Peruvian authorities showed Toledo arriving at Lima airport on Sunday. Toledo turned himself in on Friday for extradition.

Peruvian authorities have accused Toledo of receiving $35m in bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for the company winning the contract for the Interoceanica Sur highway.

He denies the allegations of corruption by prosecutors, whose charges include money laundering and collusion and who have requested a 20-year prison sentence.

Toledo still at the airport

Al Jazeera correspondent Mariana Sanchez, reporting from Callao in Peru, said Toledo remained at the airport and was expected to be transported to prison later on Sunday.

“He will not be taken to the criminal courthouse, which was the previous plan in the centre of the capital,” she said. “Instead the top prosecutor in the country is here at the airport with the former president. They are probably talking with the lawyer as well.”

She said that some of Toledo’s supporters had arrived at the airport in a show of solidarity with the former president.

Toledo’s extradition process began in 2018. He had been declared a fugitive in his country the previous year when he travelled to the US amid corruption investigations against him.

Toledo – an economist by profession, with a doctorate from Stanford University in the US – became the second former Peruvian president to be extradited. His predecessor, President Alberto Fujimori, was extradited from Chile and is serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, former President Pedro Castillo is in pre-trial detention while being investigated over allegations of “rebellion” after trying to illegally dissolve Congress in December.

Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is also being investigated in the Odebrecht case and was under house arrest, while ex-President Alan Garcia shot himself in the head to avoid arrest in 2019 and died in hospital.

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