LIMA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Peru's Public Ministry called for a preventive prison sentence Tuesday against former President Alejandro Toledo over alleged corruption charges.

On Monday, the ministry said that it has begun an investigation against Toledo for allegedly using his influence in money laundering. The statement was made after a search of a house that belongs to the former leader on Saturday.

According to Hamilton Castro, Peru's anti-corruption prosecutor, the authorities have begun to investigate Josef Maiman, a businessman and close friend of Toledo, as well as Jorge Barata, a former executive for Odebrecht Latinvest in Peru.

The ministry also said that Barata paid Toledo 20 million U.S. dollars through offshore accounts in Andorra. And 11 million dollars was found on accounts belonging to Maiman in Britain, according to the statement.

These illicit payments are suspected to have a linkage to the contract for the Interoceanic highway linking Peru with Brazil, which was awarded to Odebrecht and other Brazilian construction firms.

Speaking to the Peruvian press last week from Paris, France, Toledo said he was the victim of "political persecution" and that he had already been investigated without any solid evidence against him.