“The Tug-Of-War Of International Extradition”

June 25, 2013

The Kojo Nnamdi Show on June 17, 2013 released the following:

Edward Snowden, the man who admits leaking National Security Agency secrets, is publicly weighing his options for seeking asylum since turning up in Hong Kong. Most U.S. allies resist sheltering those who flee U.S. criminal prosecution, but countries like Iceland, Ecuador and France have been notable exceptions. We examine how recent cases are adding new twists to international extradition agreements, and find out how political currents affect those seeking safe haven.

Guests

Douglas McNabb
International Criminal Defense Attorney; McNabb Associates
Stephen Vladeck
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Scholarship, American University Washington College of Law

Related Links

McNabb Associates
Stephen Vladeck

A Brief History Of Famous & Infamous U.S. Extraditions

The source behind leaked details of a massive government surveillance program, an American named Edward Snowden, has taken refuge in Hong Kong, and many are curious as to his — and the U.S. government’s — next move.

The United States has a varied history of successful extraditions. For example, chess master Bobby Fischer died before he could be extradited from Iceland, while former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo was extradited to the U.S. last month on a charge of money laundering.

Extradition is the legal process by which one country surrenders a fugitive to another country where that person is suspected or convicted of a crime. It can be a complicated procedure, often with geopolitical implications for both the receiving and transferring governments.

This map shows where some headline makers have sought asylum. Scroll down to see the information in list form. Green indicates the person was not or has not been extradited; Red is a successful extradition (as of June 17, 2013).

View A Brief History Of U.S. Extraditions in a larger map

Successful Extraditions

Who: John McAfee
Why: The anti-virus software mogul is a “person of interest” in the death of his neighbor.
Sheltered in: Belize and Guatemala
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Eric Justin Toth
Why: The former D.C. elementary school teacher who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list is accused of producing child pornography.
Sheltered in: Nicaragua
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Morton Sobell (deceased)
Why: A conspirator of convicted Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Sobell was tried and convicted on espionage charges in 1951.
Sheltered in: Mexico
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Who: Alfonso Portillo
Why: The former president of Guatemala faces charges of laundering $70 million in Guatemalan funds through U.S. banks.
Sheltered in: Guatemala
Successfully extradited? Yes.

Unsuccessful Extraditions

Who: Julian Assange
Why: The WikiLeaks founder is wanted on allegations of sexual misconduct.
Sheltering in: Ecuadorian embassy in London
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Roman Polanski
Why: The Oscar-winning filmmaker faces sentencing on a charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Sheltering in: France
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Kim Dotcom
Why: The founder of file-sharing website Megaupload is wanted by the FBI on piracy charges.
Sheltering in: New Zealand
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Michael and Linda Mastro
Why: The Seattle real estate magnates were indicted on charges of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.
Sheltering in: France
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Edward Snowden
Why: The former NSA contractor disclosed details of classified National Security Agency surveillance programs.
Sheltering in: Hong Kong
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Assata Shakur a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard
Why: The convicted murderer and prison escapee became the first woman ever to be named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2013.
Sheltering in: Cuba
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Bobby Fischer (deceased)
Why: The chess legend was wanted by U.S. authorities for playing a chess match in Yugoslavia in defiance of international sanctions in 1992.
Sheltered in: Iceland
Successfully extradited? No.

Who: Gary McKinnon
Why: The hacker is accused of breaking into computers at NASA and the Pentagon.
Sheltered in: Great Britain
Successfully extradited? No.”

A copy of the transcript may be found here.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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“Former Guatemalan President Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition”

May 29, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“Samuel Rubenfeld
Wall Street Journal

A former Guatemalan president was extradited last Friday to New York to face money laundering charges, the latest in the Justice Department’s heightened efforts to get defendants detained internationally to face corruption charges.

Alfonso Portillo,who led Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, embezzled tens of millions of dollars in state assets, some of which he laundered through U.S. and European bank accounts, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Portillo pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson. If convicted, Portillo faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He has long denied the allegations against him, telling CNN en Español in January the charges are a political witch-hunt borne of his opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.

“If deposits were made, they are deposits that first of all come from institutions that are not illicit,” he was quoted by CNN as saying. “In order for there to be laundering, the first requirement is that the money is from an illegal origin or comes from an illegal activity.”

Portillo’s extradition to the U.S. highlights a recently favored tool in corruption cases by law enforcement authorities, in which people are detained overseas and brought to the U.S. to face the charges against them.

The Justice Department built up its capacity and bolstered its relationships with foreign counterparts, allowing it to more frequently pursue cases and defendants internationally, said Peter Carr, a spokesman, in an email.

“The result is we are pursuing the extradition of more defendants, including high-profile defendants, such as [Viktor] Bout and Portillo,” Carr said.

However, the results of these efforts are somewhat mixed, based on a review of recent cases.

Bout was extradited and convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His associate was extradited to New York last week.

In January, a U.K. businessman was extradited, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in El Paso, Texas, federal court to three years behind bars for trying to help ship missile parts to Iran.

And in April 2012, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel was brought to the U.S. to face racketeering and money-laundering charges, for which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

But prosecutors are struggling to bring a former Thai official to the U.S. to face money-laundering charges in a case that’s been stayed until March 2014, and their support to Bahamian authorities in another case still ended in failure.

In another case, prosecutors have been trying to extradite a South Korean man since 2009 to face U.S. foreign bribery charges, but court papers from the man’s lawyers say Seoul won’t do it because the people he’s accused of bribing aren’t considered public officials under local law.

Carr declined to comment on the Justice Department’s record of extradition.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


Guatemala court approved extradition of ex-president to US

March 29, 2012

Jurist.org on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“On March 19, 2010, a Guatemalan criminal court ruled that Alfonso Portillo, the former Guatemalan president who served from 2000 to 2004, could be extradited to the US to face money laundering charges. Portillo was indicted for his role in a plot which embezzled $15.8 million from the country’s Ministry of Defense. Portillio had been arrested earlier in the year for a warrant issued by Guatemala based on the US indictment. In October 2008, Portillo was extradited back to his home country from Mexico, where he had fled to avoid charges after his term and executive immunity, came to an end. In November 2011 the current president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, announced that he will allow the former leader to be extradited to the US after his criminal trial by a Guatemalan court found him not guilty for insufficient evidence.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Guatemala Traffickers Exploit Legal Tool to Fight Extradition

February 7, 2012

InSightCrime.org on February 7, 2012 released the following:

“Written by Steven Dudley

A legal safeguard built into Guatemala’s justice system is being used to stall the extraditions to the United States of some of the country’s most notorious suspected drug traffickers.

The writ of amparo — which is something along the lines of an injunction in the United States, or “accion tutela” in Colombia — provides widespread “relief” or “protection” for the appellate who feels that a statute, law or government action is violating his rights under the country’s constitution.

The amparo is a broad measure that can also be used to reclaim rights as well, such as the right to obtain government-generated documents (equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act in the United States). As such, it is a sacred legal tool.

However, lawyers of some of Guatemala’s most notorious suspected organized crime figures are repeatedly employing the amparo in what appears to be an effort to indefinitely delay the extradition of their clients.

There at least nine high-profile suspects awaiting extradition who have used the measure.

1. Waldemar Lorenzana, alias “The Patriarch,” the long-time head of the Lorenzana clan, a diverse and powerful trafficking group that has been accused of working with both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.

2. Elio Lorenzana (pictured above), the son of Waldemar, and a suspected trafficker in his father’s organization.

3. Juan Ortiz Lopez, alias “Chamale,” the Guatemalan contact for the Sinaloa Cartel in the San Marcos state along the Mexican border.

4. Mauro Salomon Ramirez, a top lieutenant for the Chamale organization.

5. Alma Lucrecia Hernandez, Salomon’s replacement after his arrest in 2010.

6. Edgar Leonel Estrada, arrested for importing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, the raw material for methamphetamine, for the Mexican criminal organization Familia Michoacana.

7. Victor Emilio Estrada Paredes, who worked closely with his half-brother Edgar.

8. Byron Linares, a long-time drug trafficker who was captured then released in the early 2000s, then recaptured; Linares allegedly has connections in Colombia and sells illegal drugs to the Sinaloa Cartel, among others.

9. Alfonso Portillo, Guatemala’s ex-president who is accused of embezzlement, and has been tied to a group of ex-military intelligence personnel that facilitates drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal adoptions, and other criminal activities.

The frivolous nature of the amparos has US authorities wringing their hands. In one case, the suspect’s lawyer filed an amparo contending that the words “United States” was not specific enough language to know who the accuser was, and that it could be confused with “the United States of Mexico.”

Others have made references to conflicts of interest within the court system, as this account from elPeriodico illustrates, attempting to sideline judges they deem unfavorable.

The most common amparos challenge the constitutionality of extradition (for example, see pdf version of what Elio Lorenzana’s lawyers filed in 2011, following his capture).

Guatemala allows extradition for cases that have been resolved or in cases in which the suspect is not wanted for a crime in Guatemala. But only Portillo and Linares still faces charges in Guatemala. Once those are settled, their lawyers are likely to file more amparos.

In the case of Portillo, this may be futile. Guatemala’s former president Alvaro Colom, in one of his last big decisions as head of state, authorized the extradition of one of his longtime political rivals just months after the courts, in a shameful ruling, absolved Portillo, and two of his accomplices, of several charges.

The amparo has also been employed against other judicial bodies seeking to prosecute organized crime figures, most notably the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-sponsored project that assists judicial and police authorities in investigating high-profile crimes.

The legal tactics go beyond amparos. On February 1, the day a court was to decide Elio Lorenzana’s fate, his lawyers resigned, leaving him without a defense and leaving the court with little choice but to suspend the hearing.

Traffickers in other countries have employed amparos as well, most notably in Mexico and Venezuela, where high-profile figures have argued extradition violates the constitution and their rights under it.

Amparos in extradition cases are not new, and US Congress has discussed their use in public hearings in the past. They have long been filed if the accused can face longer or more harsh sentences in the United States for their crimes than under their own countries’ laws.

Some of the most significant Guatemalan traffickers, such as Otto Herrera and Mario Paredes, alias “El Gordo,” were captured in other countries, making their extraditions or deportations easier. Both Herrera and Paredes were tried and sentenced in the United States.

However, the Guatemala-based cases can take months or years, and US authorities have no option but to wait.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Guatemala Leader Authorizes Extradition of Ex-Pres

November 17, 2011

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said Tuesday he will grant a U.S. extradition request for former president Alfonso Portillo, who faces U.S. charges of money laundering related to the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million in foreign donations.

Colom said the country’s courts have already approved the extradition of Portillo, and that he will respect those rulings.

“The president should not get mixed up in the decisions of judges and justices,” Colom said. The country’s highest court approved the extradition request in August.

Speaking at a news conference, Colom did not give a date for when Portillo might be sent north. The remaining administrative processes can take months before the extradition finally occurs.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala said it “welcomes the decision of President Alvaro Colom and the government of Guatemala to promote justice and security.”

“The Guatemalan authorities have sent a clear message that nobody is above the law,” the statement said.

In May, a Guatemalan court found Portillo not guilty of charges that he stole $15 million from the country’s Defense Department when he governed the country from 2000 to 2004.

The judges ruled that prosecutors failed to prove through documents or witnesses that Portillo was personally involved in embezzling the funds.

Portillo is charged in a New York federal court with money laundering and embezzling $1.5 million donated by Taiwan to buy schoolbooks for Guatemalan children. He allegedly deposited the money in Miami and transferred it to a Paris account in the name of his ex-wife and daughter.

After leaving office in 2004, Portillo fled to Mexico where he received a work visa and was a financial adviser for a construction materials company.

He was extradited from Mexico to Guatemala in 2008 to face the embezzlement charges at home and remained free until he was arrested on Jan. 26, 2010 on the U.S. extradition request. He was captured at a beach preparing to flee Guatemala by boat.
This article was published by The Associated Press on November 16, 2011.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Guatemala to Extradite former President Portillo to U.S. to Face Money Laundering Charges

August 30, 2011

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court Friday ratified the extradition of former President Alfonso Portillo to the United States, where he faces money laundering charges.

Portillo, who was president from 2000 to 2004, is accused of laundering $70 million through U.S. banks.

“This court has voted unanimously to deny the appeal by Alfonso Antonio Portillo Cabrera and consequently the extradition order to the United States holds firm,” said Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre, president of the court.

No date has been set for the extradition, which also must be approved by President Alvaro Colom.

The court recommended that Portillo, currently under house arrest, be moved to a detention center until Colom makes a decision on the case.

A federal grand jury in New York requested Portillo’s extradition in January, claiming he and a team of co-conspirators embezzled Guatemalan public funds and hid the money in offshore accounts.

The U.S. grand jury’s indictment claims Portillo, 59, also laundered money through European accounts and French prosecutors are investigating the allegations.

In May, a Guatemalan court dismissed charges from the country’s Public Ministry that the former head of state stole $15 million from the military in 2001.

Portillo, who took office promising to redistribute wealth in the poverty-plagued Central American country, fled Guatemala for Mexico shortly after completing his term in 2004. He was extradited from Mexico to Guatemala in 2008 to stand trial.

This article was written by Mike McDonald and published by Reuters on August 26, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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