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Did Joran van der Sloot fly to Peru with FBI money?

Peruvians are wondering if the unfinished FBI sting operation in Aruba and Alabama financed Joran van der Sloot's trip to Peru. His lawyer says Joran van der Sloot's confession of murder should be thrown out by a Peruvian judge.

By Staff writer / June 10, 2010

A man browses at a newspaper stand selling papers bearing the images of accused murderer Joran van der Sloot in Lima, Peru Wednesday.

Karel Navarro/AP

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The front-page story on the society page of the Peruvian daily “La Republica” asks the provocative question: Did the assassin of Stephany come to Peru with money given by the FBI?

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Joran van der Sloot, the Dutchman who confessed to the murder of Stephany Flores in Peru, has long been the main suspect in the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba five years ago. As the murder case in Peru evolves, new details show that the FBI had reopened the Aruba case – and may have inadvertently funded Mr. van der Sloot´s trip to Peru.

US officials acknowledged Wednesday that they were building a criminal case against Mr. van der Sloot but delayed his arrest to obtain more evidence. In the meantime, van der Sloot fled to Peru and has since confessed to killing 21-year-old Flores after the two met gambling in a Lima casino.

On Wednesday, the FBI and US Attorney´s Office in Alabama released a statement saying that they were not far enough along with the case to detain van der Sloot. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy asked FBI Director Robert Mueller to clarify "exactly what happened in this case and the basis for all actions taken by the FBI," according to the AP.

They will likely face questions in Peru, too. “It depends on how this case develops,” says Diana Miloslavich Tupac, who works at a women´s group in Lima called Flora Tristan, Center of the Peruvian Women. The entire saga has provoked “national outrage, not just from women´s groups but from society overall,” she says.

Ms. Flores, who is the daughter of a former race car driver and businessman, was found beaten to death in van der Sloot´s hotel in Lima last week. After fleeing to Chile and being detained and returned to Peru, he confessed to the killing, explaining to authorities that he was angered when he went to buy breakfast and returned to find Flores surfing the Web on his laptop.

Will confession be thrown out?

Van der Sloot's lawyer told CNN affiliate Panamericana TV that he will try to get his client´s confession thrown out because van der Sloot was not being properly represented at the time of interrogation. A public attorney was present, but van der Sloot's attorney says he wasn't given the option of having a private attorney.

Peru's criminal police chief, Gen. César Guardia, denied that the confession had been obtained under force. “Here we have not laid a finger on him. All rights have been respected,” he was quoted as saying in La Republica newspaper.

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