Manhunt for Peru's fallen ex-president starts in California

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The "Interoceanica" connects Brazil's Amazon state of Acre with port cities along Peru's southern coastline and resulted from 2004 between the countries' then-presidents, Toledo and Brazil'sLuiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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.

#UPDATE Peru judge issues global warrant for arrest of ex-president Alejandro Toledo on bribe accusations https://t.co/6CEMCkum0A- AFP news agency (@AFP) 10 février 2017 Despite the denials, Odebrecht's confession to the US Justice Department that it paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in several countries threatens to implicate leaders and ex-leaders who once promoted the hydroelectric plants, highways and irrigation canals that Odebrecht has built over the past two decades. Toledo, however, had denied any role in the graft scandal last week, the agency said.

With this, Toledo becomes the most significant political figure in Peru to be indicted in relation to the Odebrecht case.

"Anyone in the world who can help us find him can claim the reward", Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said.

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Prosecutors, citing testimony from an Odebrecht executive, alleged Toledo made a pact with the company 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.

Toledo's lawyers have stated they will appeal the resolution.

After the judge's decision, Benitez said he would recommend Toledo not return to Peru to face a justice system he called "vindictive".

Toledo's wife, Eliane Karp, said that her husband would "gladly" return to the country "if there were guarantees of an impartial and non-politicized justice". He was reported to be in Paris last weekend, although he resides in the U.S., where he works as a researcher at Stanford University, California.

Toledo was president from 2001 until 2006.

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