Peru offers reward for info to capture ex-president

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Peru said on Friday that it believes the country's fugitive former president Alejandro Toledo, wanted in connection with a far-reaching bribery probe, is now in San Francisco, California and will try to flee to Israel.

The Peruvian government on Friday put up a reward of 100,000 soles (around 30,000 USA dollars) for any information leading to the arrest of former president Alejandro Toledo.

Toledo has denied wrongdoing and was last known to be in France, which has an extradition treaty with Peru.

Jorge Barata, Odebrecht's former executive director who is cooperating with worldwide anti-corruption authorities, accused Toledo of receiving $20 million in bribes from Odebrecht for a contract to build a highway between Brazil and Peru.

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A Peruvian judge has ordered the arrest of the country's former president Alejandro Toledo over allegations that he took $20m (£16m) in bribes.

According to Richard Concepcion, judge of the National Penal Court, there is "a high level of probability that former president Toledo carried out illegal agreements with executives of (Brazilian construction company) Odebrecht".

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.

Investigators searched Mr Toledo's home for five hours on Saturday.

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The current president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has urged Mr Toledo to return to Peru to face questioning.

The downfall of Toledo, once a pro-democracy hero and anti-corruption crusader to many in Peru, has raised questions about who might be next as Odebrecht provides testimony on high-ranking officials it bribed from Argentina to Panama.

But Toledo's lawyer Heriberto Benitez accused the judge of having a "vengeance" and said he would appeal against the ruling.

Toledo was president from 2001 until 2006.

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