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  HOME | Bolivia

Bolivia Hands Over Fugitive Businessman to Peru Authorities

LA PAZ – Bolivia’s government on Friday handed over fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who was captured the day before in Bolivia’s Amazon region after escaping house arrest last weekend.

Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, is wanted in his homeland on corruption charges.

The fugitive businessman was turned over to Peruvian authorities at the international border crossing in Desaguadero, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of La Paz.

“Bolivia won’t be a refuge for corrupt individuals or criminals,” President Evo Morales said in a brief statement to reporters after the suspect was extradited.

Belaunde, Humala’s campaign manager during his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2006, escaped house arrest after the Bolivian Supreme Court ordered his imminent extradition to Peru to face charges including embezzlement, criminal conspiracy and money laundering.

Among other crimes, the suspect allegedly accepted bribes in return for helping private companies secure contracts with regional governments.

Police and army soldiers captured the Peruvian businessman Thursday afternoon in the northeastern jungle town of Magdalena, near Bolivia’s border with Brazil.

Bolivia’s new interior minister, Carlos Romero, said the Peruvian was hiding under a bed when authorities located him, adding that he was in perfect health and “did not have a scratch” on him at the time of his arrest.

Belaunde, however, said in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location shortly after his disappearance that he had been kidnapped on Sunday in La Paz and fled his captors by jumping out of a moving car.

Morales fired his interior minister, Hugo Moldiz, and the chief of Bolivia’s National Police, Luis Cerruto, after Belaunde’s escape from house arrest.

Bolivian authorities have arrested 14 people over the incident, including police who were responsible for guarding the residence and are expected of aiding and abetting Belaunde’s escape.

 

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