Israel bars entry of embatlled former Peruvian president

The current president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has urged him to return to the country to face questioning.

Israel announced on Sunday that it will bar fugitive former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, wanted by authorities on suspicion of accepting $20 million in bribes, from entering the country amid reports that he was fleeing to Israel with his wife, who is an Israeli citizen.

Kuczynski did not describe Trump's response to his request but the Peruvian leader is expected to give a televised address later on Sunday.

Peru has an extradition treaty with the United States but does not have one with Israel. However, American officials told government officials in Peru they would not interfere, permitting him to board the El Al flight. "It's hard for us to understand what additional indications are needed ... we find what's been uncovered thus far unsettling", Basombrio said.

Shortly after Mr Kuczynski narrowly beat a right-wing populist in Peru's June run-off election past year, he joked that he would cut off ties with the United States if Mr Trump won the USA election.

Toledo is a visiting professor at Stanford University, near San Francisco, where he graduated with a PhD in economics.

Israel, where Toledo's wife has citizenship, said earlier on Sunday that Toledo would only be allowed into Israel when he " settles his matters" in Peru after Lima warned that he had booked a Saturday night flight from San Francisco to Tel Aviv.

On Thursday, a Peruvian judge ordered Toledo's arrest.

It is estimated that Odebrecht paid out more than $730m in bribes across 12 countries in Latin America, according to a journalistic investigation.

The U.S. Justice and State Departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kuczynski served as finance minister and then prime minister in Toledo's 2001-2006 government, when Peru awarded lucrative highway contracts to Odebrecht. The ex-president, who was in France last week, has angrily denied any wrongdoing when interviewed by Peruvian journalists.

Odebrecht previous year admitted in a plea agreement with the US Justice Department to paying some $800 million in bribes to politicians throughout Latin America, including $29 million during the 2001-2006 governments of Toledo and his two successors.

  • Leroy Wright