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Peru's ex-President Toledo denies taking $20M in bribes

By Andrew V. Pestano
Peru's ex-President Toledo denies taking $20M in bribes
Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo allegedly took $20 million in bribes from the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. He denied the accusations following a raid conducted by Peru's Public Ministry on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Alejandro Toledo

Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo denied taking bribes as part of the Odebrecht corruption scandal after prosecutors searched his home.

Investigators raided Toledo's home in Camacho on Saturday as part of a Peruvian government effort to probe the extent Odebrecht's confessed bribery scheme influenced Peru's officials and businesses.

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"Special prosecutor's team continues to work for more than five hours in raiding Alejandro Toledo's house in Camacho," Peru's Public Ministry said in a statement. "The documentation found in the house of ex-President Toledo will be evaluated by the Public Ministry."

Jorge Barata, Odebrecht's former executive director who is cooperating with 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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Dozens of Brazilian business leaders and politicians have been indicted for corruption, money laundering and racketeering over the scandal in Petrobras, a semi-public oil and gas company. Politicians in several countries are accused of accepting bribes -- either personal bribes or bribes distributed to their political party -- in exchange for lucrative government contracts for Odebrecht and Braskem, another Brazilian firm.

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Toledo dismissed the accusations as an unfair political attack against him.

"I express my deep concern about the politicization over the information of the cases handled by the Public Ministry," Toledo said in a statement. "I will appear before the court every time it is mentioned again, although I do not have supporters, comrades or ex-lawyers in the fiscal and judicial function."

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Odebrecht in December agreed to pay at least $2.6 billion in criminal penalties over its role in the massive corruption scandal.

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