LIMA Feb 12 Peru's Interior Minister Carlos
Basombrio said it was unclear where the country's fugitive
former president Alejandro Toledo was on Sunday after the
government's bid to capture him hit a legal obstacle in the
The United States told Peru that there did not appear to be
sufficient probable cause to merit detaining Toledo and asked
the Andean country to refile its request, Basombrio said by
Toledo, once an anti-graft crusader who governed Peru from
2001-2006, is wanted in connection with a far-reaching
corruption inquiry, but he has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and
has yet to be charged with, or convicted of, any crimes.
Prosecutors allege Toledo took $20 million in bribes from
Brazilian builder Odebrecht, citing testimony from a former
Odebrecht executive and bank transfers of some $10 million from
the family-owned company to accounts controlled by a longtime
friend of Toledo.
"It's hard for us to understand what additional indications
are needed ... we find what's been uncovered thus far
unsettling," Basombrio said, adding that the United States had
signaled its "greatest willingness" to help find Toledo.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.
The disagreement threatens to strain tensions between the
United States and Peru, a traditional U.S. ally in South America
and one of the world's biggest producers of cocaine.
A Peruvian judge issued an international arrest warrant for
Toledo on Thursday and said he must spend 18 months in jail
while charges of influence peddling and money laundering are
prepared against him.
Toledo's attorney has slammed the "preventive prison" order
as excessive and a hallmark of autocratic regimes. He did not
immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Peru frequently jails suspected criminals for extended
periods to keep them from fleeing or obstructing ongoing
investigations. The practice has been criticized by some as
violating the right to due process.
Toledo was last believed to be at Stanford University in
California on Saturday when he had a scheduled flight from San
Francisco for Israel, which does not have an extradition treaty
with Peru, Basombrio said.
It was unclear if Toledo, whose wife has Israeli
citizenship, boarded the flight, Basombrio said.
Israel said on Sunday it will not allow Toledo to enter the
country before his matters are settled in Peru.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Alan Crosby)