LIMA Feb 10 Peru put former president Alejandro
Toledo on its list of the country's most wanted criminals on
Friday after a judge issued an international warrant over
allegations he took $20 million in bribes from Brazilian builder
The interior ministry offered 100,000 soles ($30,000) for
any information leading to his capture and urged Interpol to
quickly issue a red alert to help find him.
"Anyone in the world who can help us find him can claim the
reward," Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said on local TV
station Canal N.
"Peru doesn't deserve to see another president flee
justice," Basombrio added.
Toledo rose to power denouncing widespread corruption in the
government of his predecessor Alberto Fujimori, who fled to
Japan amid a far-reaching graft inquiry in 2000. Fujimori is now
serving a 25-year sentence in Peru for corruption and human
rights abuses committed during his decade-long authoritarian
Toledo has not been convicted of any crimes but a judge
ruled Thursday that evidence uncovered so far merited jailing
him for up to 18 months while influence peddling and money
laundering charges are prepared against him.
Toledo has denied wrongdoing and was last known to be in
France, which has an extradition treaty with Peru.
Toledo's lawyer Heriberto Benitez did not immediately
respond to requests for comment on Friday. On Thursday he had
told reporters Toledo was outside Peru but would not say where,
citing a confidentiality agreement with his client.
After the judge's decision late on Thursday, Benitez said he
would recommend Toledo not return to Peru because of a justice
system he called "vindictive."
Some Peruvians have speculated that Toledo might have
traveled to Israel, where his longtime friend, Israeli
businessman Yosef Maiman, is believed to live.
Israel does not have an extradition treaty with Peru.
Prosecutors allege Toledo made a pact with Odebrecht to help
it win two lucrative highway contracts in exchange for bribes he
asked to be deposited in the accounts of offshore companies
controlled by Maiman. Some $10 million in transfers from
Odebrecht to Maiman's companies have been traced.
Maiman has not responded to requests for comment.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)