A Bolivian court has ruled in favor of Peru’s request for extradition of fugitive political operative Martin Belaunde.
Belaunde fled to Bolivia in December as it looked increasingly likely he would be indicted for money laundering, conspiracy and embezzlement in the high-profile La Centralita investigation. La Centralita was the nickname for a house in Chimbote used as a headquarters for the political machine of Ancash governor Cesar Alvarez.
Belaunde requested political asylum in Bolivia twice, both of which were denied. He is under house arrest in Bolivia until May 21.
“The decision was unanimous and the authorities will have to select a date to return him to Peru,” one of the judges told the Bolivian daily El Deber. “There is no political justification to give him refugee status. That was [Bolivian asylum commission] Conare’s decision. We made the judicial decision to realize the legal proceedings to send him to Peru.”
Belaunde has been called the brain behind La Centralita, where his official role was to improve the image of Ancash governor Cesar Alvarez. Alvarez is currently serving three years in the Piedras Gordas maximum-security prison for running a criminal political machine engaged in embezzling millions of dollars from public funds, political espionage and murder. Over 30 other Ancash officials have been jailed with Alvarez.
Belaunde was the campaign manager for President Ollanta Humala’s unsuccessful candidacy in 2006. He is the nephew of Luis Castañeda, the current mayor of Lima. He is also the former boyfriend of Roxana Altuna, a top consultant to first lady Nadine Heredia before resigning last year. Belaunde has donated over $300,000 to Humala’s presidential campaigns.