Manuel Noriega has been extradited to France, where he is expected to face trial on French money laundering charges. After a long legal battle, U.S. officials have approved his extradition from the U.S. to France. Noreiga has been in prison in Miami, FL for the last two decades following his conviction on drug charges.
Noriega has also already been convicted, in absentia, on French charges, however, the French have agreed to hold a new trial as part of the extradition process.
Noriega requested to be returned to Panama, however, that country did not want him back. A handcuffed Noreiga was boarded onto an Air France flight yesterday after a U.S. State department spokesman had confirmed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had signed the extradition order.
Noriega’s extradition was expected, however, the timing of it did surprise some. Nearly a month ago, the order calling for extradition was issued, two days later the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not consider Noriega’s request to stop his extradition to France on money laundering charges.
French authorities charged Noriega with money laundering for using drug money to purchase property in Paris. Noriega was convicted in absentia of money laundering in the amount of approximately $3 million in drug proceeds.
Article 8 of the U.S.-France Extradition Treaty, “bars extradition when the person sought has been convicted or acquitted in the Requested State for the same offense, but does not bar extradition if the competent authorities in the Requested State have declined to prosecute or have decided to discontinue criminal proceedings against the person sought.” Had France sought extradition on drug charges alone then the extradition may have been barred by Article 8.
Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.
The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of the offices listed above.