Israeli Ex-judge Arrives in Israel After Secret Peruvian Decision Paved Way for Arrest

Dan Cohen arrives in Israel after being arrested by undercover agents on a busy street in Peru Friday and extradited that night.

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A former Israeli judge wanted in Israel for fraud arrived in Israel Sunday morning after the Peruvian authorities picked him up on Friday and put him on a plane for Tel Aviv the same day.

Dan Cohen, who had been fighting extradition, was arrested by undercover agents on a busy street in Lima's swanky Miraflores quarter. He had been under surveillance since the Peruvian government decided in a secret vote to approve his extradition.

On Friday, police brought Cohen before a judge who approved the arrest and extradition according to Interpol documentation he was given. Cohen was brought immediately to Lima's international airport and was put aboard a flight for Tel Aviv at 8 P.M.

Cohen was arrested by Israeli police upon his arrival Sunday morning at Ben Gurion International Airport, Army Radio reported.

The expedited action was probably taken to avoid pressure on the Peruvian government to delay the move; the former judge, who in addition to fraud, has been wanted since 2009 on charges of bribery, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, is known to have good relations with senior Peruvian businesspeople. These figures are said to have thwarted earlier efforts to extradite Cohen by pressuring former President Alan Garcia.

But the current president, Ollanta Humala, could not be pressured; a few weeks ago he launched a "national program to fight crime and corruption." As part of the program, Prime Minister Juan Jimenez Mayor told the daily El Peruano that "we will no longer allow in undesirable foreigners involved in crimes in their countries."

By fleeing to Peru, Cohen proved his legal shrewdness, as the two countries are not signed onto an extradition agreement. This is how one of the biggest players in one of Israel’s biggest bribery schemes ever has managed to get away and remain at large.

Israeli former judge Dan Cohen attends his second extradition hearing at the San Jorge prison in Lima September 4, 2009. Credit: Reuters / Haaretz Archive
Foreign police, presumably those who escorted Dan Cohen to Israel, are seen at the arrival terminal of Ben Gurion International Airport, March 17, 2013.Credit: Mori Milrod

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