March 20, 2020 / 1:05 AM / in 12 days

U.S. judge orders release of Peru ex-president on bail due to coronavirus outbreak

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered the release of Peru ex-president Alejandro Toledo on bail from a California jail, where he has been held pending extradition proceedings, citing insufficient safeguards to protect older inmates with a heightened risk of illness from the coronavirus outbreak, according to a court filing.

The former Peru president has been accused of taking a $20 million bribe from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht during his 2001-2006 term.

“The risk that this vulnerable person will contract COVID-19 while in jail is a special circumstance that warrants bail,” Magistrate Judge Thomas Hixson, of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said in ordering Toledo’s release on bail from the San Mateo County Maguire Jail, according to the filing.

Toledo will be released from jail when $500,000 in cash bail is posted and his wife, Eliane Karp, surrenders her passports, according to the order. In addition, once released, he must be on “home lockdown” and can leave only for medical appointments, attorney visits or court appearances.

Toledo was arrested in July last year. He has been considered a fugitive in Peru since 2017, after a Peruvian judge ordered him detained to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the probe.

Toledo had argued that at 74 years old he was at the risk of serious illness or death if he remains in custody.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler

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