Peru president asks Trump to consider deporting wanted ex-leader

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski asked U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Sunday to consider deporting the Andean country’s fugitive ex-president, Alejandro Toledo, Kuczynski said in a statement.

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Kuczynski’s government believes that Toledo, wanted in connection with a far-reaching graft probe, is in the United States but that efforts to capture him there have stalled on legal hurdles.

Kuczynski did not describe Trump’s response to his request and the White House did not mention Toledo in a read-out of the conversation.

Kuczynski is expected to give a televised address later on Sunday.

Late on Thursday a Peruvian judge issued an international arrest warrant for Toledo, who has repeatedly denied allegations by prosecutors that he took $20 million in bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

The United States wants Peru to provide more evidence of probable cause before ordering Toledo’s detention in the United States, Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio told Reuters earlier on Sunday.

The dispute is threatening to strain tensions between the United States and Peru, a traditional U.S. ally in South America and one of the world’s biggest producers of cocaine.

Trump said that the two leaders spoke to “reinforce the strong bilateral ties that exist between the United States and Peru,” the White House said.

Kuczynski said that both leaders exchanged their viewpoints on the U.S.-Peru relationship and the “ample possibilities for deepening them on the back of agreement on topics of the defense of democratic principles and the fight against corruption.”

Trump also invited Kuczynski to visit the United States, the Kuczynski’s statement said.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler