Bolivians Accused of Trying to Extort Jacob Ostreicher

Image: Wikicommons

Six Bolivian government officials, allegedly involved with a scheme to rob and extort Jacob Ostreicher, an American Jewish businessman, were arrested on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Ostreicher has been in jail for the past 18 months on suspicion of money laundering.

Ostreicher and his supporters have argued since his arrest that he was the victim of corrupt Bolivian officials who have been keeping him in jail in order to sell off the 18,000 metric tons of rice they confiscated from him and extort him in exchange for promises to obtain his release.

With the arrest of the officials, including a top Interior Ministry official, Ostreicher’s case might be near a resolution. According to the Bolivian newspaper, Los Tiempos, Bolivia’s interior minister, Carlos Romero, said that Ostreicher’s lawyer should submit an appeal to the local criminal court in Santa Cruz, where he has been imprisoned.

Romero, quoted in the AP, said those arrested were involved in “a network of corruption and extortion that has involved government officials, private individuals and possibly had connections with the judiciary.”

The actor, Sean Penn, recently brought attention to Ostreicher’s case when he visited him at the end of October. Ostreicher has also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease by a government doctor.

Written by

Gal Beckerman

Gal Beckerman

Gal Beckerman is the Forward’s Opinion Editor. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. His first book, “ When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, ” won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, as well as being named a best book of the year by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Contact Gal Beckerman at or follow him on Twitter at @galbeckerman

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Bolivians Accused of Trying to Extort Jacob Ostreicher

Thank you!

This article has been sent!