By Frank James

Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen now in Peruvian custody after reportedly confessing to murdering a woman there, recently received $25,000 from U.S. law enforcement officials in a sting meant to secure evidence of his alleged extortion attempt against the family of Natalee Holloway, an American teen who went missing in Aruba five years ago.

U.S. agents didn't arrest him, however, because they wanted to gather evidence that would lead to a murder charge in the Holloway case.

Van der Sloot was suspected in Holloway's disappearance and presumed death in 2005 when she took a high-school graduation trip to the Caribbean island but never charged for lack of evidence.

That U.S. agents didn't immediately arrest the 22-year old suspect may have been fatal for Stephany Flores. After receiving the money, van der Sloot flew to Lima Peru where he met Flores who was last seen alive on hotel security video entering a room with him.

As NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reported for the network's newscast:

The Natalee Holloway murder investigation was resurrected about six weeks ago.
That is when van der Sloot allegedly reached out to her family and offered information about her disappearance in exchange for cash...
... Last month the FBI videotaped van der Sloot accepting $25,000 in exchange for details on Holloway.
Days later van der Sloot flew to Peru to enter a poker tournament.
That's were he met Stephany Flores.

The New York Post, which first reported the sting payment to van der Sloot, asserts that it was FBI money that funded van der Sloot's trip to Lima.

An NYP excerpt:

Federal agents trying to build an extortion case against Joran van der Sloot secretly gave him the cash that wound up funding his trip to Peru, where he killed a young woman exactly five years after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, The Post has learned.
Van der Sloot tried to shake down Holloway's mother by offering information about her daughter's 2005 disappearance, and agents decided to set him up with a $25,000 payoff, a source told The Post yesterday.
An intermediary acting under the direction of the FBI gave van der Sloot the dough in Aruba on May 10 -- and four days later, he flew to Peru, where he allegedly murdered 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room.

categories: Crime

2:56 - June 9, 2010