US Judge to decide if Ex-Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo is released on bail

Alejandro Toledo, Peru’s former president, was arrested in northern California on Tuesday. Photograph: Martín Mejía/Associated Press. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SAN FRANCISCO, Sep 12, 2019, ANDINA. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Hixson will decide on September 12 if he accepts the request made by the defense of ex-President Alejandro Toledo —who is wanted in Peru over corruption charges— to release him on bail during the extradition process, reported the ANDINA.

In August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California decided to call for a new hearing in order to make a decision on the request.

Likewise, it provided more time to Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise LaPunzina so she could present alternatives to solitary confinement.

Last Tuesday, it was reported Toledo’s defense may have offered a US$1 million bail with the purpose of regaining his freedom.

According to local media outlets, US$10,000 would be paid in cash and two properties of close friends would be given as warranty.

Furthermore, in a statement sent to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, LaPunzina pointed out Toledo himself asked for the special security measures in jail, which include solitary confinement.

Toledo is wanted by Peruvian justice to face an investigation into the alleged bribes worth US$35 million paid by Brazilian company Odebrecht over the concession for the development of the South Interoceanic Highway during his time in office (2001-2006).

July Audience

Ex-Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) will face his extradition process detained in a U.S. cell, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson on July 19.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elise LaPunzina —who represented the Peruvian State— was in charge of supporting the complaint against Toledo and the need for the ex-President to remain detained during the extradition process.

Toledo’s attorney was Joseph P. Russoniello on that occasion.

According to Peruvian El Comercio newspaper, LaPunzina indicated the ex-President did not prove that he complies with the special conditions to be released on bond and underlined there is a considerable risk of flight.

Moreover, she stressed that a bag containing at least US$40,000 in cash was found in inside Toledo’s house when he was detained, adding these funds could be intended for escaping.

After listening to the arguments, U.S. Magistrate Judge Hixson asked if the money found in Toledo’s house was intended for escaping.

His wife Eliane Karp —who was born in Europe and became First Lady of Peru (2001-2006)— was also present at the bail hearing.

Later, Karp insulted Peruvian Lava Jato Case Special Prosecution Group Coordinator Rafael Vela, who travelled from Lima to the Bay Area to attend the event.

According to the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office, Toledo received up to US$35 million in bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to favor it during his presidency (2001-2006) with the concession of the South Interoceanic Highway. With this money, the former president paid mortgages and properties in Peru.

Toledo detained in the U.S.

As is known, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States by an extradition order against him, within the framework of the investigations over alleged corruption offenses in the awarding of the South Interoceanic Highway Project to Brazilian company Odebrecht.

The Peruvian Public Ministry’s International Judicial Cooperation and Extraditions Unit (UCJIE) Head Senior Prosecutor Celia Goicochea indicated the detention took place on July 16, 2019, at 6:30 AM (local time) in the State of California.

Goicochea recalled the extradition request was submitted to United States’ authorities on May 25, 2018.

After U.S. authorities’ questions were addressed, the Department of Justice notified the Public Ministry’s UCJIE on July 2 that the arrest order was being prepared in order to extradite the ex-President.

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