The fugitive ex-leader of Peru says he’s “run away from nothing” after his home country issued an arrest warrant and asked the U.S. to deport him in suspicion of pocketing $20 million in bribes.
Embroiled South American politician Alejandro Toledo professed his innocence slammed an Interpol alert seeking his arrest for a Odebrecht bribery plot as a “machiavellian distortion of politics.”
“I will defend myself and I will never yield to a politically motivated ‘bounty hunter,’ Toledo said in a statement translated to English.
He claims the local courts rejected his testimony in the corruption case.
Toledo’s whereabouts are unclear as of Sunday. He was slated to board a Tel Aviv-bound flight from San Francisco on Saturday evening as Peruvian authorities pressed the U.S. government to detain and extradite him.
Israel said it would not allow Toledo to enter its country.
The U.S. declined to honor the Peru’s request and on Sunday night, President Pedro Kuczynski called for Toledo’s apprehension in a phone call with Donald Trump.
The two world leaders spoke as Trump returned to Washington D.C. following a weekend of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago estate — and a North Korean missile launch.
It’s unclear how Trump responded to Kuczynski’s request. The White House’s callout of their remarks made no mention of Toledo or the country’s request.
Peru offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to Toledo’s capture.
He is suspected of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, which agreed to a multi-billion payout for orchestrating an international bribery plot targeting corrupt officials in the United States, Switzerland and Brazil.
With News Wire Services
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