Peruvian president wanted in Odebrecht corruption scandal
2 March 2017
Last week, on February 24, Peru’s right-wing President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) became the first Latin American head of state to stage a state visit to the Trump White House.
The trip by Kuczynski, a Wall Street investment banker, specializing in private equity funds, received scant coverage in the US media. During a brief appearance before the White House media, Trump described Peru as a “fantastic neighbor” and referred to the US sale of military vehicles to the Peruvian armed forces, telling Kuczynski “use them well, use them well.” There is no doubt that the main use of such equipment will be repressing struggles of Peruvian workers.
There was no mention in the public appearance of an ongoing judicial matter pending between the two countries, which Kuczynski afterwards said he and Trump discussed “for no more than a few seconds.”
The issue at hand is the extradition of Peru’s fugitive former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), who is believed to be hiding on US territory. Earlier this month, Kuczynski asked Trump in a phone conversation to deport the former president instead of going through the legal process of arrest and extradition.
Toledo faces charges of bribery, money laundry and influence trafficking in pocketing US$20 million in bribes paid by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to secure contracts for building the expensive Transoceanic Highway.
In a parallel development, on February 18, SUNAT (The National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Administration) began seizing 260 million Peruvian soles (US$80 million) from Brazilian construction companies associated with Odebrecht, which is deeply implicated in the “Lava Jato” (Car…