Former Peruvian President Accused of Working With Holocaust Survivor to Launder Money

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Authorities are expected to interrogate former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo regarding allegations of money laundering and fraud.

Toledo is accused of fraudulently buying a $4 million house in Lima using money from his mother-in-law, 86-year-old Holocaust survivor Eva Fernenburg. Toledo's wife, Eliane Karp, is Israeli.

Peru's chief prosecutor, Jose Palacios, said he intends to investigate Toledo to determine where Fernenburg got the $4 million to buy the house.

Toledo said when the acquisition was revealed in January that his mother-in-law had paid for the house using inheritance money and Germany reparation payments.

But on Sunday, the BBC program "Panorama" ran an investigative report alleging that Fernenburg had received the money via two shell companies registered in Costa Rica and Panama. Those companies were connected to a Peruvian-Israeli businessman and an associate of Toledo, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Peruvian newspapers have identified the businessman as Sabih Saylan, a board member at the Israeli companies Ampal and Merhav, controlled by tycoon Yossi Maiman.

Toledo denied the accusations on Wednesday, telling Peruvian media he was not involved in the real estate transactions, though he maintained that the transactions were legitimate.

Toledo was quoted as saying that his mother-in-law had bought the property with her own savings and with bank loans. He added that he intended to grant the authorities access to his own bank accounts.

Toledo, an economist by profession and Peru's first president of Native American descent, served from 2001 to 2006. In 1979 he married Karp, a French Jew who had immigrated to Israel. They divorced in 1987 and remarried in 1994

Toledo ran for reelection in 2011 but got only 15% of votes. 

Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru.Credit: Bloomberg

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