Yesterday morning Peruvian political operative and fugitive Martin Belaunde escaped the home in La Paz, Bolivia where he was under house arrest while awaiting extradition to Peru.
Belaunde faces charges of money laundering, conspiracy and embezzlement in Peru. Last December he evaded Peruvian authorities to cross the Desaguadero border into Bolivia, where he was denied political asylum. Two weeks ago a Bolivian court approved his extradition to Peru once he had completed his house arrest sentence in La Paz. Belaunde had been under house arrest at his relatives’ home in La Paz since Jan. 21.
When family members found Belaunde’s room empty yesterday morning, they reported his disappearance to the police charged with guarding the house. Bolivian authorities confirmed Belaunde escaped through his bedroom window Sunday morning around 4 a.m.
“We deeply regret the negligence and presumed complicity of the police custody team that was responsible for keeping Martin Belaunde secure and protected,” Bolivian prime minister Juan Ramon Quintana said. He added that Interpol has been notified and anti-corruption authorities are interrogating the police who were tasked with guarding the house in the Bajo Llojeta district where Belaunde was staying.
Belaunde’s lawyer told RPP that his client could have escaped, but he also suggested the possibility of a kidnapping. “I have tried to communicate with him and his phones are turned off. Right now I don’t know what’s happening with my client, if he’s alive or OK or where he is. The authorities have to provide us with those answers.”
Martin Belaunde has been called the brain behind the La Centralita corruption scandal, in which former Ancash governor Cesar Alvarez allegedly ran a criminal machine engaged in embezzlement, political espionage and murder. Alvarez is currently serving three years in the Piedras Gordas maximum-security prison with over 30 other Ancash officials.
Belaunde was the campaign manager for President Ollanta Humala’s unsuccessful candidacy in 2006. He is the nephew of Lima mayor Luis Castañeda and the former boyfriend of Roxana Altuna, who was a top consultant to first lady Nadine Heredia before resigning last year.
Martín Belaunde Lossio: Emiten orden de captura en su contra (La Republica)