LIMA, Peru – Peruvian police searched the house of ex-President Alejandro Toledo for five hours on Saturday in a case involving alleged bribes from a Brazilian construction firm under investigation in a major corruption probe.
It's the latest development in a case that first started in Brazil but has since caught up dozens of politicians from around Latin America in a far-reaching probe.
Prosecutors said on social media that the evidence they gathered at Toledo's home in Lima will be evaluated by investigators.
Local television images showed investigators who are on the team looking into suspected bribes paid by the Odebrecht construction company entering Toledo's home.
Toledo, who was Peru's president from 2001-2006, on Saturday was reportedly in Paris for a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The pro-democracy activist, who rallied Peruvians in the streets to force the resignation of strongman Alberto Fujimori, denied any wronging in telephone call late Friday with El Comercio newspaper
"I don't have anything," Toledo said in the phone call, a recording of which was published by the website. "Look at my accounts."
Specifically, authorities are looking into whether money paid by Odebrecht to a Peruvian businessman ended up in Toledo's hands. Further stoking speculation that Toledo's arrest could be imminent, the former president's attorney abruptly resigned Friday without providing a reason.
"Justice is for everyone," President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who served as Toledo's Prime Minister and whom authorities also want to speak to in the far-reaching probe, said on Twitter. "If someone committed corruption they should be punished."
Kuczynski has denied any wrongdoing as well and has called for a "deep investigation" of Odebrecht for illicit activities in Peru.
In January, Odebrecht agreed to provide investigators with information about its involvement in corruption in Peru. Three officials from the administration of former President Alan Garcia (2006-2011) have been arrested thus far.
The giant Brazilian construction firm acknowledged in a plea agreement in December with the U.S. Justice Department that it gave bribes of some $800 million to win business in 12 countries, including about $29 million to officials in Peru during the administrations of Toledo, Garcia (2006-2011) and Ollanta Humala (2011-2016).
During Toledo's administration, Odebrecht began construction on a series of highways that stretched from Peru's border with Brazil to the Pacific coast.