The international department of the prosecution services failed to obtain the extradition from Peru of former judge Dan Cohen, wanted in Israel on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, the government informed the department yesterday.

Israeli prosecutors were still optimistic last month, after a seventh judge in the Lima District Court decided the extradition could go ahead. This decision opened the way for the Peruvian government to sign the extradition warrant.

Jerusalem offered their prosecution colleagues no explanation as to why the extradition process eventually failed. Although the Supreme Court of Peru decided Cohen could be extradited as early as last July, the one-time Israeli district court judge appealed to a lower court in Peru, claiming the legal process against him had been flawed. Cohen also argued that the extradition could not proceed because of a lack of mutual diplomatic relations between Israel and Peru. The lower court upheld his appeal, canceling the Supreme Court's verdict and leading the Supreme Court to launch a counter-appeal.

Cohen is believed to have received millions of dollars in bribes when he served as a director on the Israel Electric Corporation board, in return for influencing the company's decisions and pressuring them to buy turbines from the German corporation Siemens.