Six local men were detained in Panama City, suspected of helping an Israeli man escape from jail where he was awaiting trial, Panama news sites reported Wednesday.
Israeli Shai Dahan, who also went by the last names of Alalouf and Golan, had been detained in La Joyita prison since he was extradited from Spain on March 16. He is accused of massive fraud, including selling the same property several times to different buyers.
According to media reports, to make his escape Dahan bribed officials in the jail to the tune of $500,000.
Panama police said they have no idea where the Israeli man, in his 30s, is now, but it is possible he used his criminal connections to flee the country. They issued an international arrest warrant for Dahan.
Dahan was well known in Jewish circles in Panama City. He dealt in real estate, ran stalls in malls, and had a reputation as a gambler, according to reports.
The fugitive has a long history of fraud. In 2014 he appeared in court in London charged with fraudulently claiming to be a real estate tycoon with liquid assets of £1 million. The deception was uncovered after he racked up £230,000 of gambling debts in a high-rolling casino.
In 2009, when he was wanted for embezzlement and fraud, the police in Los Angeles issued the following warning about him.
“Beware of this man! This is an Israeli man with forged papers that lives in Mexico illegally. His name is Shai Golan and he sometimes goes by the name of Shai Alalouf.”