Hunger strike businessman freed from Bolivian jail

A rally of Orthodox Jews in America campaigning for the release of Mr Ostreicher (Photo: Judae1)

A rally of Orthodox Jews in America campaigning for the release of Mr Ostreicher (Photo: Judae1)

A Jewish businessman has returned to the United States after being detained in Bolvia for over two years on suspicion of money-laundering.

Jacob Ostreicher, 53, who managed a multi-million pound rice-farming venture, was arrested in Santa Cruz and detained for 18 months without charge in Palmasola prison from June 2011, before being placed under house arrest.

This week his family, who reportedly paid an undisclosed ransom for his release, expressed relief at the return of the Orthodox father of five and grandfather of 11 to Brooklyn, New York.

Jacob Ostreicher (Photo: AP)

Jacob Ostreicher (Photo: AP)

His nephew, Moshe, said: “With happiness, we are informing the community of Israel that our dear uncle has left the iron curtain in Bolivia, and is now, with God’s great mercy, here in America.”

The case of Mr Ostreicher – who has previously gone on hunger-strike and claimed that Bolivian officials “robbed me of close to $50 million worth of assets” - attracted widespread media attention when congressmen and actor Sean Penn campaigned for his release.

Last June, 15 people were arrested by Bolivian authorities on charges of engineering the arrest of Mr Ostreicher as part of the extortion ring.

Last updated: 12:32pm, December 17 2013