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  HOME | Bolivia

Belaunde Arrested, Transferred to La Paz, Bolivian Government Says

LA PAZ – Peruvian businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who is facing corruption charges in his country, will arrive in La Paz in the coming hours from the city of Beni, in the Bolivian Amazon region, where he was captured on Thursday, the Bolivian government said, adding that he was in perfect health and “did not have a scratch” when he was arrested.

At a press conference in La Paz, Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero confirmed that Belaunde, a former campaign adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, was captured in the town of Magdalena in a joint operation mounted by the Bolivian police and army.

Romero said that the Peruvian “did not have a scratch” on him when arrested, which contradicts his own version – given in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location – that he was kidnapped on Sunday in La Paz but escaped from his captors by jumping out of the moving car in which they were transporting him.

Once Belaunde arrived in La Paz, a press conference will be held at which he will be present and later the “appropriate legal procedures” will be implemented, said Romero, referring to extradition measures to return him to Peru.

Belaunde was arrested at a private home in Magdalena, 300 km (186 mi.) from the city of Trinidad, the capital of Beni province.

The former adviser fled from the home where he was under house arrest in the Bolivian capital 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 Sunday 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.

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 Peruvian government offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to Belaunde’s capture.

The five police officers who were guarding Belaunde in La Paz – along with a shaman who allegedly sheltered him – were sent to jails in the capital on charges of alleged complicity in his escape.

 

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