Peru ex-president Toledo surrenders for extradition: US marshals
Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, pictured in 2016, is accused of corruption in a sprawling scandal related to Brazilian construction company Odebrecht AFP/File

Peruvian ex-president Alejandro Toledo surrendered to US authorities in California Friday, ahead of his expected extradition to Lima on charges of corruption and money laundering.

Toledo has lived in the United States for several years, and gave himself up at a federal court building in San Jose, where he was handed over to the US Marshals Service.

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

Toledo, who holds a doctorate from Stanford University, is accused of taking millions of dollars from Odebrecht in exchange for favored treatment in bidding on public works.

He denies all charges, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years if convicted in Peru.

Friday's surrender appeared to be the start of the endgame for a man who was initially detained in California in 2019.

He was put under house arrest in 2020 and ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor.

Earlier this week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Toledo's most recent legal move to block the extradition Peru has sought since 2018, and a US judge ordered him to surrender.

On Friday morning he left his Menlo Park residence accompanied by his lawyer and his wife, Eliane Karp.

Wearing a green jacket, red vest, blue jeans and sneakers, he was seen carrying a few belongings, according to images published on social networks, as he made his way to the Robert F. Peckham federal building, where a crowd of reporters had gathered.

The US Marshals Service confirmed to AFP that he had handed himself in, and judicial sources said the extradition process was expected to last less than a week.

'Car Wash'

Peruvian prosecutors say they have testimony from two people who claim Toledo received bribes from Odebrecht.

The firm acknowledged paying backhanders in Brazil and several other nations around Latin America in the so-called "Car Wash" scandal, which has so far seen dozens of politicians and business figures behind bars.

Four other former Peruvian presidents currently face corruption investigations. They are Ollanta Humala (who ruled 2011-2016), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) and Pedro Castillo (2021-2022).

Former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was convicted of corruption charges and is in prison. Another ex-president, Alan Garcia, died by suicide in 2019 as police were preparing to arrest him in the Odebrecht case.

© Agence France-Presse