Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has asked U.S. President Donald Trump to consider deporting a former Peruvian president sought by the Andean country to face charges of taking bribes in a far-reaching regional graft probe.
Kuczynski’s office says the request to deport Alejandro Toledo was made Sunday in a phone call with Trump. Peru believes Toledo is living in California, but Lima is facing legal hurdles in getting him out of the country.
The White House confirmed the talk, but did not mention Peru’s deportation request, saying the two discussed various other issues. A statement from Kuczynski’s office said Trump invited him to visit the United States.
Local media in Peru reported Toledo had intended to fly over the weekend to Israel where his wife has citizenship. But Israel said Toledo was not on a flight from San Francisco that landed Sunday night, and that the former Peruvian leader would not be allowed into the country.
In a posting on his Twitter account late Sunday, Toledo denied he is a fugitive, saying he had “never run away.” But he did not say where he was or if he would return to Peru.
Last week, a Peruvian court ordered the arrest and detention of Toledo as prosecutors investigate whether he took $20 million in payments from the giant Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Authorities across Latin America have been moving to charge officials accused of taking nearly $800 million in bribes from Odebrecht. The company acknowledged the bribes when it signed a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in December.
Used to win business in 12 countries, the bribes include some $29 million paid in Peru for projects built during the administrations of Toledo (2001-2006) and two of his successors. Three officials have so far been arrested.