Israeli wanted on bribery charge arrested after Peru extradition

JERUSALEM Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:27am EDT

Israeli former judge Dan Cohen attends his second extradition hearing at the San Jorge prison in Lima September 4, 2009. REUTERS/Superior Court of Lima/Handout

Israeli former judge Dan Cohen attends his second extradition hearing at the San Jorge prison in Lima September 4, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Superior Court of Lima/Handout

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel arrested a former judge suspected of receiving millions of dollars in bribes as he arrived back in the country on Sunday after being extradited from Peru, authorities said.

A spokeswoman for Israel's Justice Ministry said Dan Cohen, who fled Israel in 2005, arrived back after Peruvian President Ollanta Humala approved a long-standing request for extradition.

Humala's predecessor, she said, had rejected Israel's requests. The two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Cohen will now face bribery and other charges, she said.

Eli Levy, who has worked on the case for years as an investigator at the Israel Securities Authority, the country's markets regulator, told Army Radio he only learnt on Friday Cohen would be sent back to Israel.

Cohen served as a district judge between 1978 and 1981 and a director at state-run utility Israel Electric Corp between 1993 and 2004.

He was indicted in a number of affairs, including bribery connected with an IEC tender worth hundreds of millions of dollars for gas turbines in 1999. Siemens was one of the bidders, submitting its offer via its Israeli subsidiary.

The ISA said Cohen used his influence and status at IEC to guarantee Siemens, which was bidding against General Electric, a win in exchange for about 1 million euros ($1.3 million) that would be deposited in a foreign bank account.

Levy said in total, Cohen took about $4 million in bribes from different companies.

($1 = 0.7654 euros)

(Reporting by Steven Scheer and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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