U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said at a news conference today that her office had obtained an arrest warrant for van der Sloot charging him with extortion and wire fraud, following a roughly six-week investigation. The 22-year-old Dutch citizen is being held by Chilean police for questioning in the stabbing death of a woman in Peru.
According to the federal criminal complaint obtained by WMBF-TV, an NBC affiliate in South Carolina, van der Sloot attempted to obtain $250,000 in exchange for providing information in the Holloway case. He was only partially successful, the complaint alleges.
"On or about May 10, 2010, the defendant ... did knowingly and willfully cause another person to wire transfer a partial payment of money ($15,000) from a financial institution in Birmingham, Ala., to a financial institution in the Netherlands," the criminal complaint reads.
Holloway vanished while on a trip to Aruba to celebrate her high school graduation. She was last seen leaving an Oranjestad nightclub with van der Sloot, then a 17-year-old Dutch honors student living in Aruba. Her body has never been found.
The complaint alleges that van der Sloot agreed to provide not only the location of Holloway's body but also information about the "circumstances of her death" upon receipt of the money from an unnamed individual in Birmingham.
The information that van der Sloot provided was false, federal authorities said.
Vance declined to provide further details on the criminal complaint at this time, saying, "We don't want to do anything that might impede further investigation or the fairness of the further legal proceedings we believe will take place in Birmingham at a later date."
Van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in Holloway's disappearance, was detained by Chilean police Thursday for questioning in the slaying of Stephany Flores, 21, who was found stabbed to death in a Lima hotel room Wednesday morning.
Police in Peru say Flores was likely killed Sunday, the five-year anniversary of Holloway's disappearance.
Flores was reportedly seen with van der Sloot on Saturday at a Lima casino, where he was said to have been participating in a poker tournament, and again on Sunday at the hotel where the victim's body was found.
Van der Sloot is being held at the Investigation Police headquarters in Santiago. Chilean police have not yet received an international arrest warrant for van der Sloot, so he will likely be placed under electronic monitoring in the meantime, BNO reported.
Earlier today a Holloway family spokesperson, Sunny Tillman, released a brief statement to Alabama Live on behalf of the missing teen's mother, Beth Holloway.
"Regarding the recent news from Peru, Beth Holloway extends her deepest sympathy to the family of Stephany Flores Ramirez and prays for swift and sure justice. She is also very grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support for Natalee and her family," the statement reads.
Natalee Holloway's father, Dave Holloway, told WHNT he is relieved by van der Sloot's arrest.
"There's no doubt van der Sloot's a bad kid," Holloway alleged. "He screwed up, and he needs to be locked up somewhere."