TEL AVIV (Sep. 21)
An Israeli soldier of fortune wanted by the Colombian authorities is not likely to be handed over by Israel.
But his future movements around the world may be greatly curtailed if Colombia obtains an international arrest warrant for Yair Klein, an Israel Defense Force reserve lieutenant colonel.
At the moment, Klein, who is president of Hod Hahanit, a firm that specializes in exporting military equipment and know-how, is under investigation by the Israeli police.
The police are trying to determine whether he and his associates — all IDF reservists — did business in Colombia without obtaining the requisite licenses from the Defense Ministry.
Cohen says he trained security guards for Colombian ranchers and farmers, for which he did need to be licensed, but the Colombians are accusing him of training assassination squads for the drug cartel.
The Department of Administrative Security in Bogota said Klein has been charged there with criminal conspiracy and was being sought for extradition along with another Israeli, Arik Acek.
But Colombia has no extradition treaty with Israel, and the Israeli police charge that the Colombian police have ignored their repeated requests for information that could help their investigation of Klein.
For that reason, they say, the investigation is confined to possible license violations, not drug-related charges.
If Colombia obtains an international arrest warrant, Klein could face arrest if he sets foot in any country that has an extradition treaty with Colombia.