Jacob Ostreicher released after more than two years in Bolivia

By JTA
December 17, 2013 05:01

 
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Jacob Ostreicher, a New York businessman held in Bolivia since 2011, is back in the United States.

Two Jewish news websites, JP Updates and Algemeiner, reported Monday that Ostreicher returned Sunday to New York, although the circumstances of his departure from Bolivia are not clear.

Ostreicher, who had a flooring business in New York, invested money with a group involved in a rice-growing venture in Bolivia and was managing the business when he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. He also was accused of doing business with drug traffickers.

However, in June, Bolivian authorities arrested 15 people — including government officials — on charges of engineering his arrest in hopes of extracting cash payment.

Despite those charges, Bolivia did not release Ostreicher, a haredi Orthodox father of five, and his case drew the attention of leading lawmakers in Congress, including Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Sean Penn, the movie actor and human rights activist.

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