Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bolivia: After Being Held for Nearly 2 Years Without Being Charged, US Businessman to Be Sent Home

As a follow-up to my posting of December 10, Jacob Ostreicher, 53, a flooring contractor from New York City, who came to Bolivia in 2008, to start a rice plantation in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, will soon be returning home, even though he has been jailed for nearly two years without ever being charged or prosecuted.

Unfortunately, in January 2011, he was arrested by the Bolivian government on suspicion of money laundering charges, largely because he had failed to engage in thorough due diligence of those were working for him.

To make matters worse, new evidence was introduced on Tuesday (December 18) implicating senior officials of the Interior Ministry who attempted to take advantage of Mr. Ostreicher by demanding an extortion payment of $50,000.

As a result, those who had engaged in the extortion attempt have been arrested and charged, with the end result being that the American will soon be released and permitted to return home to his family.

COMMENT: As this posting is filed, Mr. Ostreicher has already returned home to New York City and has been rejoined with his family. His treatment was further complicated by the fact that he suffers  from Parkinson's disease.

Sadly, cases such as this are not uncommon when foreign businesspeople fail to seek professional advice before entering into ventures in developing countries where corruption is endemic.

As I have said on all too many occasions, most foreign governments have very limited capacity for extricating their citizens from legal trouble abroad, including the US Department of State.