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US Judge Clears Way for Extradition of Former Peruvian President Toledo

FILE - Former Peru President Alejandro Toledo and his wife Eliane Karp arrive to the 2015 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Lima, Peru, Oct. 8, 2015.

A U.S. judge on Tuesday said that evidence of criminality in the extradition case against former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo is "sufficient," all but clearing the way for his extradition back to Peru on corruption charges.

Peruvian authorities allege that while serving as president between 2001 and 2006, Toledo negotiated bribes with Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA.

The final decision on whether to extradite Toledo now lies with the U.S. State Department.

Toledo has denied the graft allegations against him. He lives in California near the Stanford University campus where he studied and later worked. He is currently under house arrest, although he also spent several months in jail during the earlier stages of the extradition case.

Key to the decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Hixson in San Francisco were the testimonies of Jorge Barata, the former Odebrecht head in Peru, and that of Josef Maiman, an acquaintance of Toledo who has said he helped the former president receive bribe money.

"Barata and Maiman's testimony, combined with Toledo's admissions in this extradition proceeding that he ultimately received approximately $500,000 in Odebrecht bribe money ... establish probable cause to believe that Toledo committed collusion and money laundering," the judge wrote in his decision.

The United States extradited former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli in 2018.