California judge rejects petition from former president Toledo

A Northern California judge denied former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo a request not to be extradited to his country while a higher court resolves one of his appeals seeking to remain in the United States.

Judge Laurel Beeler ordered temporary relief: Toledo not be extradited for at least seven days so he has time to petition an appeals court to allow him to stay in the United States.

“The petitioner’s request not to be extradited while an appeal of an order that denied his habeas corpus is resolved, is denied, but the petitioner’s other request to stay temporarily is granted,” said the magistrate.

Toledo is accused of accepting some $35 million in bribes linked to the construction of a highway between Brazil and Peru. Peruvian prosecutors have sued him for conspiracy and money laundering and his country has been seeking to extradite him since 2018. The former president was arrested in the United States as a result of that request in 2019.

On April 22, Judge Beeler rejected Toledo’s appeal to a court order that had certified his extradition and ordered the case closed. The former president (2001-2006) later asked the court to stop sending him to Peru while the appeal was resolved.

The extradition was certified in September 2021 by another California judge, Thomas Hixon, but to prolong the extradition process Toledo filed a habeas corpus a month later.

In his request, the former president argued that the extradition treaty between the United States and Peru cannot be applied to his case because Peru has not formally accused him or delivered the documents with the specific charges, as required by the treaty. He added that there is no reason to believe that he committed the alleged crimes. The judge rejected his claims.

The motion that the judge approved on Monday is no longer related to the appeal of the denial of habeas corpus but to file a separate request before an appeals court.

If you do, the appellate court will decide. But if Toledo does not submit that request, he could be extradited after the expiration of the seven-day period given by the judge.

The Department of State is in charge of executing extraditions and can do so even when appeals are pending, as long as there is an order from a judge that has accredited the extradition.

Toledo admitted that the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid at least 34 million dollars in bribes and that he received part of them. However, he has said that he is innocent and that the late Israeli businessman Josef Maiman was in charge of those deals with the Peruvian authorities without his knowledge.

According to Toledo, Maiman would have received the money acting falsely on his behalf.