Charges Against Peru Ex-President Highlight High-Level Corruption

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Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo stands accused of money laundering and conspiracy, the third Peruvian president in recent history to be implicated in criminal activity in a country where severe corruption remains entrenched to the highest levels.

Toledo first came under investigation last January, after his Belgian mother-in-law bought a house and an office in Peru worth nearly $5 million with funds of unknown origin. A report approved this week by the government’s Congressional Oversight Committee says the former president later made contradictory statements about the purchase to the group investigating his involvement, reported Prensa Latina.

The report alleges that Toledo created the offshore firm Ecoteva Consulting Group in Costa Rica in 2012 — which it’s been claimed is a shell company — and used funds from this venture to help finance the purchase, reported Peru 21.

Yosef Maiman, a Peruvian-Israeli millionaire, is also believed to have invested money in the purchase, using patterns typical of money laundering — the money was moved through a network of bank accounts and companies, including the Costa Rican firm, according to Prensa Latina. The report also implicates Toledo’s wife, Eliane Karp, of Belgian and Polish heritage.

Opponents of the report, and Toledo himself, have rejected the accusations, calling them a political attack on the former president, who plans to run as a presidential candidate for his party Peru Posible in the 2016 elections.

The report will now pass to Congress, and if approved, will be sent to the Public Ministry for investigation.

InSight Crime Analysis

While it is possible the ongoing case against Toledo has political overtones, this is not the first time he has come under fire for corrupt dealings. In the 2011 presidential elections, in which he also ran, he was accused of links to a prominent family involved in laundering drug money. During that election, all of the major candidates faced allegations of links to criminal activity — an sharp illustration of just how endemic political corruption is in Peru, even in comparison to other highly corrupt Latin American nations.

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Toledo is just one of three Peruvian ex-presidents in as many decades to be put under the spotlight for criminal activities. Former President Alan Garcia has also been accused of illegal property dealings, as well as illicit enrichment, and has been implicated in a pay-for-pardons scandal in which hundreds of convicted drug traffickers secured an early release from prison. Former President Alberto Fujimori meanwhile has been convicted of embezzlement and human rights abuses, and numerous people in his inner circle are wanted on corruption charges. Current President Ollanta Humala has also been accused of links to drug money. 

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