Peru is asking Israel to extradite an arms dealer suspected of bribing officials in Lima over a decade ago, saying the South American country is owed reciprocation after sending back an Israeli judge accused of similar crimes earlier in the year.
Lima says Moshe Rothschild is thought to have bribed officials in the 1990s in an attempt to get the country to buy a number of used Russian fighter planes, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
Peru and Israel do not have an extradition treaty, but Peruvian Prime Minister Juan Jimenez said Thursday he “hopes that under the principle of reciprocity the extradition will be approved by Israel, so that Rothschild can be tried and sentenced for his crimes,” according to the report.
Peru has been trying to get Rothschild, a former Israeli Air Force pilot, back to face charges since he fled the country in 2001 amid allegations that he paid off former Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos as part of a deal to sell the country 36 used Mig-29 and Sukhoi-25 jet fighters in the 1990s.
Montesinos and deposed president Alberto Fujimori were both sentenced to long prison terms over corruption charges after Fujimori was forced out of office in 2000.
Peru is hoping to win Rothschild in exchange for retired Israeli judge Dan Cohen, who was sent back to Israel in March after a lengthy legal battle, to face charges that he took millions of shekels in bribes while head of the Israel Electric Corporation.
In July, the court accepted a plea bargain that will see Cohen sent to jail for five-and-a-half years.
Israel had pleaded with Peru for Cohen’s return under the principle of reciprocity as well, although with the understanding that Jerusalem would be constrained by Israeli law, which does not allow for the extradition of Israeli citizens.
“If Peru accepts the reciprocity conditions Israel is imposing, it won’t be possible to extradite Rothschild,” an unnamed official in the Peruvian Justice Ministry told the Inter Press Service news agency in 2011.