Israeli businessman Yossi Maiman is suspected of serving as an intermediary for a $20-million bribe to former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo.
The alleged bribe came from Brazil’s largest construction company, Odebrecht. The allegations were published in Peruvian media outlets over the weekend.
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Peruvian cops raided Toledo’s Lima home on Saturday after federal officers found millions of dollars that allegedly had been bribe money. The construction company allegedly paid the bribe in order to win a massive bid to build a network of highways between Brazil and Peru.
Brazil’s lead prosecutor, Hamilton Castro, said Maiman was the intermediary.
Toledo, who is currently in the United States, was Peruvian president from 2001 to 2006. Castro has said he intends to issue an international warrant for his arrest.
Castro told journalists that executives at Odebrecht cooperated with the investigators and revealed that they’d paid Toledo a $20-million bribe, via Maiman’s account at Citibank in London.
Prosecutors said they had found $11 million in Maiman’s account, as well as a history of payments made to Toledo’s consulting company, Ecoteva, which is being investigated on suspicion of money laundering.
The state prosecution alleges that Toledo’s government assisted Odebrecht to win a $600-million bid, which was eventually expanded to $1.3 billion. Toledo allegedly used some of the money to buy a villa in a luxurious Lima neighborhood for $3.75 million, and two offices in a tower for $900,000.
Maiman and Toledo have long been considered close; Toledo has made numerous visits to Israel, and served a trustee of the Peres Center for Peace.
The investigation into Toledo was launched in 2013, at which point he denied the allegations and said he wasn’t involved in real estate transactions.
He responded to the latest allegations over the weekend on Facebook. “My enemies never rest,” he wrote. “When they don’t manage to pin anything on me, they try to cause me international damage. They won’t succeed. I’m ready, as always, to cooperate with the law.”