Peruvian Judge Concepcion Carhuancho sentenced former President Alejandro Toledo to 18 months in prison over accusations that he received US$20 million in bribes as part of the largest corruption scheme involving Brazil's construction giant Odebrecht.
The judge also called for the immediate search, capture and detention of the former president, activating the international capture order that will be carried out by Interpol, according to Peruvian media.
The judge also said that the former president's advanced age, 70, is no reason to consider house arrest instead of prison.
The hearing lasted over six hours in the capital city of Lima, where prosecutors asked for 18 months in prison for the accused. Odebrecht has acknowledged distributing US$20 million to win contracts during Toledo's 2001-2006 government. The company admitted handing out to a total of US$29 million in bribes for unnamed officials in Peru from about 2005 to 2014.
Paolo Aldea, appointed as Toledo's attorney just a few days ago, said Wednesday night that his defendant was in Paris and didn't specify whether he will return to Peru, according to El Comercio.
"He enjoys freedom as any citizen does," said Aldea.
Toledo's wife, Eliane Karp, said that her husband would "gladly" return to the country "if there were guarantees of an impartial and non-politicized justice."
Toledo is under investigation for money laundering in two different cases, Odebrecht and another case known as Ecoteva. According to his attorney, the events attributed to the former president happened in 2004, while the criminal process didn't move forward until at least eight years later.
Current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was Toledo's finance minister, said the former president betrayed his country and must return to Peru to face justice. Kuczynski has also been accused of participating in the Brazilian corruption case known as Operation Car Wash and has denied wrongdoing.
This case has exposed officials from Peru's last three governments led by Alejandro Toledo, Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.The most recent president and his wife, former first lady Nadine Heredia, are under investigation and banned from leaving the country.