HomeNewsBriefJailing of US Citizen Uncovers 'Corruption Network' in Bolivia
BRIEF

Jailing of US Citizen Uncovers 'Corruption Network' in Bolivia

BOLIVIA / 4 JAN 2013 BY HANNAH STONE AND ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Two additional judicial officials have been accused of involvement in what looks like a wide-reaching network of corruption in Bolivia’s justice system, involving a plot to extort a US businessman.

A judge and a court official have been accused of participating in a scheme to extort Jacob Ostreicher, an entrepreneur from New York doing business in Bolivia, as Bolivian newspaper La Razon reports. At least 12 officials linked to the case have been arrested so far, including prosecutors, judges, and an employee of the Interior Ministry, pointing to a high level of official corruption. 

Ostreicher was arrested and imprisoned in 2011 after his business was accused of purchasing land from a Brazilian drug dealer, although he was never formally charged with a crime. He has claimed that members of the prosecution attempted to extort money in exchange for his freedom, and that he was kept in prison so that they could continue extracting bribes from him. His case came to some attention in the international media after actor Sean Penn visited him in prison in October 2012. Shortly after the visit Ostreicher was freed and place under house arrest. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The case has shone a spotlight on institutionalized corruption within Bolivia’s judicial system. President Evo Morales' government has made several attempts to bring about badly needed reform, including one controversial measure that allowed the popular election of the Supreme Court judges in 2011. But the judiciary remains underfunded and inefficient. 

The fact that Ostreicher is a US citizen likely gave him some leverage in attracting attention to his case. But his experience is far from unusual: some two-thirds of Bolivia's prison population is still awaiting trial.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 12 NOV 2010

The Bolivian government announced on Monday that it has located the six regions in which most of the…

BOLIVIA / 11 OCT 2012

Brazil has launched the latest round of its border securitization program, sending over 7,000 troops to its borders with Bolivia…

BOLIVIA / 1 JUL 2016

Authorities in Brazil and Bolivia carried out a joint operation against a group suspected of international drug trafficking in the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.