US will ‘struggle’ to extradite Kim Dotcom

February 16, 2012 on February 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Imogen Crispe

Internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom could avoid extradition on a legal technicality, a previous benchmark case shows.

The US is currently looking to extradite the Megaupload founder but charges central to the case may not be sufficient to send Dotcom back.

Copyright infringement, one of Dotcom’s main charges is not covered in the US-New Zealand extradition treaty, and a 2002 case shows racketeering is not either.

In the historic case Bob Cullinane faced US charges of racketeering, visa fraud, alien smuggling and harbouring.

The case took two years and went to the Court of Appeal before Cullinane was discharged.

It concluded that racketeering and other offences were not extraditable offences under the Treaty.

The Treaty on Extradition lists many serious charges a person can be extradited on back to the US, including murder and assault.

Chapman Tripp partner Matt Sumpter told the National Business Review the US government would “struggle to extradite” on copyright and racketeering charges.

However, Philip Morgan QC, the lawyer for the accused Cullinane in the 2002 case, says racketeering and copyright infringement could be covered by the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

This could potentially override treaty laws between the US and New Zealand.

But Lowndes Jordon partner and copyright law expert Rick Shera told National Business Review the other charges seemed to rely on the copyright infringement charge.

He says this makes any extradition laws around the subsequent charges irrelevant.

Dotcom is currently being held in the Auckland Remand Prison after failing to get bail.

His lawyers last week appeared in the High Court at Auckland to fight restraining orders around Dotcom’s assets.”


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


We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand 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 or at one of the offices listed above.

Alleged Leader of ID Fraud Extradited from Mexico; Faces Charges in Chicago

July 15, 2010

An alleged leader of a counterfeit identification document business that operated in Chicago’s Little Village Community has been extradited from Mexico to face federal charges here, including racketeering conspiracy and murder-related offenses, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today.

The defendant, Manuel Leija-Sanchez, 43, was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court on eight counts, including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to commit murder outside the United States, money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, and alien smuggling. He pleaded not guilty and remains in federal custody without bond. A status hearing was scheduled for Aug. 26 before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. Leija-Sanchez was arrested in Mexico in October 2007 and remained in custody in Mexico until Mexican authorities surrendered him to U.S. law enforcement agents last Friday.

The charges are part of Operation Paper Tiger, an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that, in April 2007, resulted in charges against 24 defendants and dismantled an alleged fraudulent document ring that operated in and around the Little Village Discount Mall and generated nearly $3 million in annual profits.

Manuel Leija-Sanchez allegedly operated the fraudulent document business since 1993 with his brothers, Julio Leija-Sanchez and Pedro Leija-Sanchez. Supposedly, the Mexico-based Leija-Sanchez organization was supervised by an overall leader living in Chicago, and the leadership position rotated among the three Leija-Sanchez brothers, according to an October 2007 indictment. The leader in Chicago and others allegedly ordered violent acts against competitors, rivals and others.

The indictment alleged that the organization sold as many as 50 to 100 sets of fraudulent identification documents each day, charging customers approximately $200 to $300 cash per “set,” consisting of a Social Security card and either an Immigration “green card” or a state driver’s license.

Manuel Leija-Sanchez and his brothers allegedly conspired to murder Guillermo Jimenez-Flores, a former member of their organization who became a fledgling rival and was allegedly shot to death in Mexico in April 2007 by co-defendant Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez, who was paid by and conspired with the three Leija-Sanchez brothers. The same four defendants also allegedly conspired about the same time to kill a second victim in Mexico.

Pedro Leija-Sanchez and Salazar-Rodriguez are both in custody in Mexico, while Julio Leija-Sanchez was arrested in Chicago and remains in custody while awaiting trial.

If convicted of the most serious charges against him, Manuel Leija-Sanchez faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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 or at one of the offices listed above.

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