Former judge in custody after extradition from Peru

Tel Aviv District Court remands Dan Cohen to police custody after he was extradited for fraud, bribe-taking, obstruction of justice.

Dan Cohen 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Dan Cohen 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Former district court judge Dan Cohen was remanded to police custody on Sunday until at least Thursday by the Tel Aviv District Court.
Cohen did not appear in court, with his lawyer Eitan Maoz informing the court that Cohen was too exhausted from his Saturday night flight from Peru and requested a few days to recover and for Maoz to review the case.
Cohen was extradited from Peru on Saturday night to be tried on charges of bribe-taking, fraud, breach of trust, causing misleading information to be included in financial reports and obstruction of justice. He was able to avoid extradition for more than seven years.
The dramatic end to Cohen’s attempts not to be sent back appeared to take a sudden turn, with the press release from the Justice Ministry about his extradition coming out after he was already en route home.
Cohen fled Israel in 2005 in the midst of an investigation into allegations that he illegally used his influence with the Israel Electric Corporation – where he served as a member of the directorate from 1991- 2001, and as chairman starting in 1993 – to aid several corporations.
He allegedly received millions of dollars worth of bribes from corporations Siemens and Rogozin in exchange for preferential treatment from the Israel Electric Corporation.
Cohen was a judge from 1978 to 1981, when he was dismissed from the judiciary for ethical violations.
He was arrested upon his arrival in Israel on Sunday and the state attorney’s extradition department immediately requested he remain in custody for the duration of legal proceedings against him, resulting in Sunday’s hearing.
Israel began to ask for his extradition as early as 2009, and undertook significant activities toward that goal, including providing Peru with a copy of the indictment and other legal materials and proofs.
Peru, which does not have an extradition agreement with Israel, had previously denied requests to extradite the former judge.
Israel litigated in a number of Peruvian courts before reaching its Supreme Court, which ordered that Cohen be extradited.
But until Saturday night, the government had refused to carry out the order.
It is still not clear what led the Peruvian government to change its position. One possibility is that media reports indicate that a recent crime wave has put pressure on Peru’s government to show that it is tough on crime, especially on foreign criminals. It is possible that this domestic issue changed the Peruvian government’s evaluation of the wisdom of extraditing Cohen.
Peru reinitiated contact with Israel about extraditing Cohen on Thursday, said the statement.