Four years after Judge Dan Cohen fled to Peru, the country's Supreme Court has approved his extradition to Israel. Cohen is accused of taking an NIS 16 million (about $ 4.3 million) bribe while serving as a director in the Israel Electric Corporation.
In its decision, the court ordered a bureaucratic process in which the investigation materials and extradition request would be handed over to the Peruvian Justice Ministry.
According to the one of the ruling's clauses, there is no reason to reject the extradition requests as it has no political, military, religious, racist or national motives, since the offenses attributed to Cohen are criminal offenses which will be discussed before a regular court.
Cohen was arrested about two months ago, following an extradition request filed with Peruvian prosecution authorities by the department for international affairs at the State Prosecutor's Office.
Israel seeks to prosecute the former judge for taking a bribe, receiving illicit benefits, breach of trust by a public servant, false registration in a corporation's documents and disrupting court proceedings. According to the suspicions, the Electric Corp. suffered extremely heavy financial damages as a result of his actions.
Cohen at Peruvian court (Archive photo: Reuters)
After the evidence was examined by Attorney Ilana Modai of the securities department at the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor's Office, it was request that Cohen be extradited. The move was supported by the state prosecutor.
The request was made through diplomatic channels, and after the Peruvian prosecution authorities examined the request and the evidence supporting it, it was handed over to a court in Peru, which ordered Cohen's arrest.
Cohen, 66, served as a director at the Israel Electric Corp. and head of its tender committee about a decade. He is accused of receiving a bribe from the Siemens company between the years 2003-2004, in exchange for "pushing" the company to purchase turbines from the German firm without a bid.
The former judge is also accused of of obstruction of justice and of promoting a shady real estate deal, in which nearly 100 acres of land adjacent to Ashdod's power plant were sold to the Electric Corp. for an inflated price of $62.5 million.
The suspicions against Cohen were revealed during a separate investigation conducted against him for several years by the Israel Securities Authority on suspicion of taking a bribe.
After his first investigation, he was questioned under caution twice – in November 2003 and August 2005, and chose to remain silent. Several days after his last interrogation, Cohen left the country and has not returned since then.