LA PAZ – The Bolivian government confirmed on Sunday that Peruvian businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, a former advisor to President Ollanta Humala who is facing corruption charges in his homeland, fled from the home where he was under house arrest in La Paz allegedly with the help of the police who were guarding him.
“We want to officially report that Mr. Belaunde fled from the residence where he was being guarded by a team of police officers,” said Cabinet chief Juan Ramon Quintana at a press conference in the Government Palace.
Quintana said he regretted the “negligence and presumed complicity” of the police guards, who reported the Peruvian’s disappearance four-and-a-half hours after they said it occurred on Sunday morning.
According to the authorities, all police units have been mobilized to find Belaunde and army border units, the Bolivian navy and Interpol have all been informed of the escape.
Belaunde, who advised Humala during his 2006 election campaign, is accused in Peru of managing the interests of individual companies to get them government contracts and thereby obtain personal financial gain.
The businessman entered Bolivia illegally in late 2014 and asked for refuge, but the Conare national refugee commission twice rejected that request claiming that the Peruvian had not proved that he was being politically persecuted in his homeland.
The Bolivian Supreme Court on May 11 approved the extradition of Belaunde, who had been held under house arrest at the home of relatives in La Paz since January.
This past week, Bolivia’s Constitutional Court rejected two appeals by Belaunde’s defense lawyers to revoke his detention and prevent his extradition to Peru.
Quintana said that the four police officers guarding Belaunde will shortly appear before a prosecutor at the offices of the Special Anti-Crime Force, and he said he expected the authorities to bring the full weight of the law to bear upon them.