Peru Freezes Fugitive Israeli Lawyer Dan Cohen's Assets

Former District Court judge suspected of taking bribes while serving on board of directors of Israel Electric Corporation.

The attorney general of Peru has frozen fugitive attorney Dan Cohen's bank account, reports the newspaper El Comercio Peru.

Cohen, a onetime District Court judge in Israel, is suspected of taking bribes while serving on the board of directors of the Israel Electric Corporation, among other things. The frozen account, belonging to Cohen and his wife, reportedly has $3.9 million in it.

Israel's Justice Ministry has been in touch with countries other than Peru to ask for legal assistance in the affair. Shortly Israel will be commencing proceedings to get Cohen extradited back to Israel for trial, despite the fact that the two countries have no extradition treaty.

In early 2009 Cohen was tried, in absentia, for taking bribes, and for fraud and breach of trust in three cases, during which he allegedly pocketed $2.8 million, plus more than a million euros. Cohen is believed to have wielded his influence over the IEC's board of directors, once to buy land at an inflated price from an Israeli company called Rogosin Industries, and once to persuade the board to buy equipment from the German conglomerate Siemens.

The former judge also stands accused of obstructing justice, by virtue of having fled Israel and refusing to stand still and be investigated.

The prosecution has signed an agreement with the former leader of Siemens Israel, Oren Ahronson, to serve as state's witness in the case. Ahronson will be testifying against Cohen.

Yehuda Weinstein, who represents Cohen together with attorneys Eli Zohar and Eitan Maoz, commented in response that he knows nothing an account being frozen. The Justice Ministry declined to comment.

Cohen was arrested in Lima after Israel requested his extradition for trial.

On September 8, Judge Khaled Kabub of the Tel Aviv District Court overturned a gag order protecting Ahronson.