The Voice of Russia on April 17, 2012 released the following:
“Marina Talashkova to stay in Canada until her extradition
Russian flight attendant Marina Talashkova will remain in custody in Canada until her actual extradition hearing date set by Canadian Ministry of Justice.
Senior Consul of the Russian Consulate in Toronto Igor Kiikov said the next hearing would take place in several weeks.
Kiykov: “The next hearing date is set for May 24. During that hearing the detailed examination of all or part of the charges will be made in a narrow aspect. And it will be decided if the evidence and charges are serious enough, and if they are considered to be a crime according to the Canadian law, as if a similar crime was committed in Canada.”
Talashkova’s Toronto lawyer Tyler Hodgson said that before the third scheduled court appearance the Canadian authorities had provided the defense with the American statement of the case.
Hodgson: “The Americans as they are required due to the extradition act have provided certification from the prosecuting authorities that they have evidence available to call in relation to the offenses for what they seek to extradite her.”
Hodgson added that Canadian justice officials agreed to continue with judicial proceedings.
Hodgson: “The authorizations proceed from the Canadian Ministry of justice on extradition hearing relating to one count of fraud and one count of possession of stolen property.”
Talashkova is accused of an alleged involvement in a multi-dollar Internet fraud case that occurred in America.
A Federal Grand Jury indicted six foreign nationals, three of whom are Russian, on charges of defrauding American car buyers through well-known websites, such as eBay Motors, Auto Trader, Yahoo Auto, Edmunds.com and Craigslist. According to the indictment, for 3 ½ years the members of the conspiracy allegedly offered vehicles for sales on various legitimate websites, and after a price was negotiated, the defendants allegedly sent fraudulent invoices. The collected money was siphoned from escrow accounts to Europe.
Hodgson noted that according to the indictment, Talashkova withdrew money from various bank accounts in Nevada that she opened in her own name. The deposits were made people attempting to purchase vehicles, but vehicles were never provided.
Hodgson: “What I would point out is that there is no allegation that Marina opened any bank accounts using second identification or passports, which is alleged for the other members of the conspiracy. And her involvement is limited essentially to a one week period in July of 2007. So I think even on the documents that American authorities have provided, her involvement is quite limited.”
Kiikov said that Talashkova had already received her case file.
Kiikov: “She does not speak English well enough, and we will demand to provide her with the certified translation of these materials.”
On its behalf, Russia raised concerns over Talashkova’s case as the Americans failed to use the 1999 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, advising direct assistance between Russia and America and not the third party.
Hodgson: “I think that certainly will become a live issue in her extradition hearing.”
Talashkova was detained by the Canadian authorities on January 15 by the US request. The Russian General Consulate in Toronto was informed by Canadian authorities the same day. However Russia did not receive an official note from America. The stewardess has denied any involvement in illegal activities.
Hodgson stressed that the ignoring of obligation to use the treaty is Russia’s firm position, which is stated in the correspondence to the Canadian Department of Justice.
Hodgson: “The fact that they failed to do so and waited until she arrived in Canada isn’t a decent process. And that is certainly something that we’ll be advocating during the extradition hearing and ultimately it will be up to the judge to decide.”
Voice of Russia tried to reach the US Justice Ministry for comment, but received no answer.
Not many are familiar with the pitfalls of extradition procedure. Hodgson pointed that the test to extradite somebody differs from the test to prove a criminal conviction.
Hodgson: “In order for the Americans to convict Marina or anyone of the criminal offense, they have to prove it beyond the reasonable doubt. To extradite somebody is a much lower threshold test and essentially it is that the prosecuting authorities, in this case the United States, simply are able to provide some evidence of a criminal conduct and the judge that presides the extradition hearing is not really allowed to delve into the quality of the evidence and to assess whether a knowledge is credible. So, it is a much lower threshold.”
Talashkova is being held in Milton women’s prison in the Ontario province, 37 miles away from Toronto in a two-person prison cell.
Kiikov said that she doesn’t have any complaints on the conditions in jail.
Kiikov: “The representatives of Trans Air regularly visit Marina in jail. We have also been there to check the conditions of detention. Canadian jails are quite clean, so there are no complaints in this regard. The food is good there. She has an opportunity to take Russian books from the library given there by us, as they did not have any books in Russian there before. And they promised to buy her an English-Russian dictionary.”
Kiikov said the consulate continues to stay in contact with Talashkova, and assist with what is necessary.
Kiikov: “We work very closely with the lawyer. Her mother came to visit her and looked at the conditions in the jail. But there is no essential decision on her detention and extradition.”
Hodgson noted though Talashkova is upset and confused, she is trying to persevere.
Hodgson: “I think that she is strong and she is holding together as best as she can in these circumstances. I can tell you that her mother visited her from Russia around a month ago and I think that was certainly helpful.””
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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