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Jacob Ostreicher’s Sensational Escape From Bolivia – Update

The sensational story of Jacob Ostreicher from Bolivia continues to reverberate internationally. First actor Sean Penn confirmed on Tuesday that he was actually with Jacob Ostreicher, after the New York businessman had secretly spirited out of Bolivia, after fighting for more than two years to clear his name in what is believed to have been a corrupt money-laundering investigation.

Penn confirmed to the Associate Press that Ostreicher was safe, is doing well and receiving medical attention at “an undisclosed location.:

Penn also said a “humanitarian operation” had been mounted to extract Ostreicher “from the corrupt prosecution and imprisonment he was suffering in Bolivia.” He didn’t provide additional details or say who was behind it, and he didn’t respond further to questions sent by the AP either.

Meanwhile in Bolivia Government officials continued to bluster in order to maintain what has so far been the official line that Jacob Ostreicher had escaped without any of their help.

158536509-Sean Pennr American Jacob Ostreicher Bolivian  getty

 Jacob Ostreicher back home                                                                     Sean Penn /getty

 

This time the country’s Interior Minister Carlos Romero weighed in stating “Ostreicher has left our country illegally, in an operation designed by an elite forces unit, with the knowledge and participation of US government officials, ” Romero also claimed the last person to whom Ostreicher spoke in Bolivia was an interpreter provided by the US embassy in La Paz.

Finally Justice Minister Cecilia Ayllon said she herself was not aware if the US government played a role in Ostreicher’s escape, saying only that he had eluded border checks on thePeruvian border, Sunday night, before boarding an LAN Chile plane in the Peruvian capital of Lima for a flight to Los Angeles.

“His escape demonstrates that he was involved in the crimes he’s accused of, ” Ayllon said at a news conference, adding that Bolivia is alerting Interpol and could request the American’s extradition.

It seems that Bolivia has had a difficult relationship with the United States for some time. Bolivia has an extradition treaty with the US, but the populist President Morales, a former coca grower, even expelled the US ambassador in 2008.

Then earlier this year in July, Morales even threatened to close the American diplomatic presence entirely after putting the blame on the United States when some of its European allies blocked his own return from Russia on suspicion that Edward Snowden the leaker from the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden may have been aboard his presidential plane. An extradition request would be unlikely to get very far therefore on might expect.

According to the Dubai based English language newspaper Gulf News, Sean Penn got involved with Jacob Ostreicher indirectly originally. It seems the Hollywood actor is known for his friendship with the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. So at one point Morales, who was allied to Chavez, invited Penn to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the land-locked Andean nation and its international campaign to regain an outlet to the sea – and also to decriminalize the coca leaf.

At the time Penn turned him down. Having heard about the Ostreicher case he later gave testimony to a US congressional hearing, and proposed that Bolivia be cut from the Dakar motor sport rally unless it freed Ostreicher. According to Gulf News, at the time his testimony angered members of Morales’ Cabinet, and perhaps set in motion the chain of events that have now led to Ostreicher’s secretive “extraction” from the country.

So many questions remain out there; but the main one has at least been answered, namely Ostreicher is back in the United States, he is healthy and in the bosom of his family – at an “undisclosed location”.

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