“Issue over bail for man fighting extradition to US”

October 1, 2013

Guardian Media on September 27, 2013 released the following:

By: Derek Achong

“Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar has been asked to decide whether Surinamese businessman Edmund Quincy Muntslag is entitled to bail while he waits extradition to the United States for allegedly conspiring to traffic cocaine. Muntslag’s attorney Keith Scotland applied for bail during a hearing of his extradition case at the Port-of-Spain Eighth Magistrates Court yesterday.

Yesterday’s hearing was Muntslag’s second since he was detained shortly after arriving in Trinidad on August 29. He is accused with Dino Delano Bouterse, the son of Surinamese President Desi Bouterse, for conspiracy to export five kilos of cocaine into the US between 2011 and this year. Bouterse, who also faces an additional charge for possession of a light anti-tank weapon, was arrested in Panama in August and handed over to US authorities.

Scotland said although an extradition warrant had been issued for his client, he was yet to receive the particulars of the offence Muntslag was alleged to have committed. He also said his client only understood basic English and needed a translator for future hearings. Muntslag sat in the prisoners’ enclosure with his hands clasped and listened intently. His mother, aunt and common-law wife, Jessica, were seated at the back of the court.

Scotland refered to the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act and the Bail Act, saying both pieces of legislation gave magistrates the power to grant bail to people awaiting extradition. Scotland said his client did not have a criminal record before being indicted on the drug-trafficking charges by the US and there was no evidence he was a flight risk. “Our instructions are he is of good character and has no convictions or pending matters in Suriname or elsewhere,” he said.

Scotland said Muntslag arrived in Trinidad legally and was only arrested when he went to Trincity Mall to shop for his five-year-old son. “He didn’t arrive on a boat in Icacos,” Scotland said. He said his client had no intention of fleeing Trinidad and suggested if Ayers-Caesar was willing to grant him bail, she had the option to place conditions to ensure he attended future hearings.

In response attorney Jagdeo Singh, who is representing the US Government’s interest in the case, said bail could only be granted to those awaiting extradition in special circumstances and asked Ayers-Caesar to consider the seriousness of the offence and that Muntslag had no ties to T&T. “The court can draw the irresistible inference that he poses a major flight risk,” Singh said. He told Ayers-Caesar that in deciding on the bail issue, she also had to consider T&T’s international extradition obligations.

“There is overriding public interest in the courts ensuring T&T maintains its commitments and obligations to its international partners,” Singh said. Ayers-Caesar said she needed time to consider the submissions and adjourned the case to October 11 when she will give her decision. The substantive case will be heard on October 28. There was a noticeable increase in police presence in and around the court for Muntslag’s appearance.

Groups of police officers were positioned at strategic locations in front of the court with several officers standing at the exits of the court during the hearing. Muntslag arrived at the St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, courthouse shortly after 8 am in the back of a prison transport van, which was escorted by a marked police car. Both were filled with heavily-armed police in tactical gear. After the case was adjourned, Muntslag was taken from the court to the vehicle then returned to the Maximum Security Prison, Arouca.

Israel Khan, SC, and Netram Kowlessar also are representing the US Government while Asha Watkins-Montserin also is representing Muntslag.”

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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 Trinidad and Tobago 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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Kim Dotcom Resigns Mega to Focus on Fighting Extradition to the United States and Other Projects

September 4, 2013

The New Zealand Herald on September 4, 2013 released the following:

“Flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has resigned as a director of his Mega data storage empire to focus on his efforts on fighting extradition to the United States and other projects.

Dotcom resigned as a director of Mega on Aug 29, and was replaced by Hong Kong-based Bonnie Lam the same day, according to filings to the Companies Office.

Dotcom staged a full-scale global media launch for Mega last year to replace Megaupload, his previous venture which was shut down in a US-led operation that alleged the file-sharing firm and its owners had committed mass copyright infringement and money laundering of more than US$500 million. Tony Lentino and Mathias Ortmann are still on Mega’s board.

Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar told BusinessDesk in an emailed statement Dotcom resigned “to be able to focus on the extradition case, an upcoming music website, and to build a political party.”

Dotcom doesn’t hold any directorships in New Zealand, and has one direct shareholding in RSV Holdings, according to Companies Office filings. His wife, Mona, is a director of Mr KimDotcom Ltd and a director and shareholder in MD Corporate Trustee Ltd, the biggest shareholder in Mega.

Earlier this week Dotcom told followers on Twitter he planned to launch a political party in New Zealand, with the next election likely to be near the end of next year, and has previously signalled plans for web-based music service called Megabox.

Dotcom and his co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk have taken their case to the Supreme Court, seeking access to evidence in the US Federal government’s case to extradite them, and are awaiting a decision.

The District and High Courts upheld their request for a trimmed down disclosure, though that was overturned in the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Dotcom’s high profile arrest in January last year led to an overhaul of New Zealand’s external spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, after the intelligence unit unlawfully intercepted his communications. At the time of the surveillance, the GCSB wasn’t allowed to spy on New Zealand residents and Dotcom had been granted residency.

The government has since tweaked the law governing the spy agency, allowing it to act on behalf of the domestic spy agency, the Security Intelligence Service, the police or the Defence Force.”

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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 New Zealand 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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“Ex-JPMorgan Trader Released, Opposing U.S. Extradition”

August 28, 2013

Bloomberg on August 27, 2013 released the following:

By Charles Penty & Patricia Laya

“Former JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) trader Javier Martin-Artajo was released from police custody after telling a Madrid court he opposed attempts by U.S. prosecutors to extradite him on charges he hid trading losses that cost the bank $6.2 billion.

The former trader turned himself in yesterday morning after being contacted by investigators, a Spanish police official said. He was released after a hearing in Madrid yesterday in which he said he was unwilling to be extradited, according to a spokeswoman for the National Court.

The U.S. this month charged Martin-Artajo, a Spanish citizen, and Julien Grout, a French citizen, with trying to hide the losses stemming from trades by Bruno Iksil, the Frenchman at the center of the case who became known as the London Whale. Grout and Martin-Artajo face up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the most serious counts, including conspiracy and wire fraud.

“The likelihood is fairly significant that he would go back,” said Ivan Mercado, managing partner at Mercado & Rengel, a law firm in Spain that works on U.S. extradition cases. “Spain and the U.S. have an extradition agreement. He can’t just say he doesn’t want to go.”

Bank’s Negotiations

JPMorgan’s losses prompted investigations on two continents, U.S. congressional hearings and an internal review that led to a 50 percent pay cut for Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who the board said bore some responsibility for lapses. Regulators in the U.K. and U.S. are preparing to impose fines on the bank as soon as mid-September, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said last week.

The bank is in talks with various authorities to settle its part of the case for about $500 million to $600 million combined, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people close to the situation. Not all agencies have agreed to numbers and the total may end up outside that range, it said.

Martin-Artajo, 49, oversaw trading strategy for Iksil’s synthetic portfolio at JPMorgan’s chief investment office in London, while Grout was a trader who worked for him.

“The arrested person is presumed responsible for manipulating and inflating the value of positions in the synthetic credit portfolio of his firm with the aim of achieving specific objectives of daily losses and gains,” Spanish police said in a statement.

‘Fair Reconstruction’

Martin-Artajo’s lawyer, Lista Cannon, didn’t respond to a call seeking comment on his client yesterday. He “is confident that when a complete and fair reconstruction of these complex events is completed, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” a spokeswoman for his law firm said earlier this month. Jennifer Zuccarelli, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, declined to comment.

At a hearing yesterday, Martin-Artajo’s lawyer filed documents in which his client denied the allegations, according to a court official who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The U.S. now has 40 days to file sworn statements in support of its extradition request.

Martin-Artajo will then be able to contest those arguments at a further hearing before a judge decides whether to grant the request, said Mercado, who isn’t involved in the case. The process can take up to several months, he added.

‘Very Difficult’

“When there is a bilateral agreement between two countries on certain crimes, it’s very difficult for a country to refuse extradition because the accord implies the crime is viewed comparably,” Carlos Vazquez, a criminal lawyer and partner at Vazquez & Vazquez in Madrid, said by telephone.

The spokeswoman for the court said Martin-Artajo’s passport has been confiscated. Another court official said that wasn’t the case, but that he can’t leave Spain without court approval.

Grout is living in France and isn’t a fugitive, his lawyer, Edward Little, a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in New York, said in an Aug. 12 interview, two days before his client was charged.

“He visited the U.S. last month with confidence he was not being indicted and moved to France to save money and look for a job,” Little said at the time. France has no obligation under its extradition treaty with the U.S. to send Grout to New York. Little declined to comment yesterday.

Martin-Artajo and Grout are charged with conspiring to falsify securities filings from March to May of 2012. The U.S. sought to keep the charges secret while arrests were attempted before unsealing them on Aug. 14. Jennifer Queliz, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment.

‘Embarrassing Situation’

Dimon characterized the loss as “the stupidest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been a part of.” First disclosed in May 2012, the bad bets led to an earnings restatement, a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing and probes by authorities including the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.

Iksil, dubbed the “London Whale” because his portfolio was so large, signed a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. in June, the government said. He pledged to cooperate with investigators as part of the deal. Martin-Artajo’s lawyer submitted documents with details of Iksil’s agreement with the U.S., the court official said yesterday.

The cases are U.S. v. Grout, 13-MAG-01976, and U.S. v. Martin-Artajo, 13-MAG-01975, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Martin-Artajo, 13-cv-05677, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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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 Spain and the extradition treaty between the United States and France 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?

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“Leader of Zetas drug cartel captured: ’40’ may be extradited to U.S.”

July 17, 2013

Los Angeles Times on July 16, 2013 released the following:

“By Tracy Wilkinson

MEXICO CITY _ Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, top leader of the vicious Zetas drug-and-extortion cartel, was in a cell in Mexico City on Tuesday, awaiting interrogation and possible extradition to the United States.

Treviño, known as “40,” was transported to the capital late Monday after his capture in the border city of Nuevo Laredo by Mexican navy special forces following what authorities described as a long pursuit based in part on U.S.-supplied intelligence. Mexican media showed images of him striding in to the federal prosecutor’s organized crime unit, wearing a black polo shirt, escorted by military guards but without handcuffs or other restraints.

Treviño was considered one of the most brutal leaders of a particularly brutal organization, one that branched out from drug trafficking to extortion, kidnapping and the smuggling of migrants — who Treviño and his men routinely slaughtered when they did not cooperate or pay up, authorities say.

Mexico under siege

His arrest marks the most significant blow to organized crime since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office more than seven months ago. His government will certainly attempt to use the arrest to prove its commitment in the drug war — a commitment that has been questioned in many circles, including among U.S. officials who had previously worked extremely closely with their Mexican counterparts but found the rules changing under the new administration.

But the capture will also likely ignite a bloody wave of violence as Treviño’s cohorts fight to succeed him.

It also strengthens the hand of the most powerful drug lord in Mexico, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, whose Sinaloa Cartel competes with the Zetas and may now have its eyes on Nuevo Laredo, Treviño’s hometown and one of the most lucrative crossing points for the shipment of tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S.

Under Treviño, the Zetas “controlled hundreds of miles of Mexican territory along the border of Mexico and the United States, which they used to conduct their drug trafficking and money laundering operations” that were valued in millions of dollars, a 2012 indictment in U.S. federal court stated.

The U.S., which had offered a $5-million reward for his arrest, may seek Treviño’s extradition.

The Zetas were formed nearly a decade ago by leaders of the Gulf cartel as their muscle, recruited from a group of deserters from the Mexican army. But the Zetas eventually split from the cartel and surpassed it, spreading its operations through southern Mexico and Central America and exhibiting levels of brutality not previously seen with such regularity. Beheadings, massacres of migrants, torture and dismembering of live victims all became routine parts of the Zetas repertoire.

Authorities believe the Zetas are responsible for many of the more than 70,000 people killed in the last six years of a military-led offensive against powerful drug cartels and fighting among the traffickers.”

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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 Mexico 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?

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Colombia Extradites Alleged Drug Lord Daniel Barrera to US

July 9, 2013

BBC on July 9, 2013 released the following:

“Colombia has extradited one of the country’s most notorious drug lords to the US, officials have said.

Daniel Barrera, known as “El Loco” (The Madman), was caught last year in Venezuela, and sent back to Colombia.

While on the run he had cosmetic surgery and tried to burn his fingerprints to conceal his identity.

He was convicted on drugs charges in Colombia in 1990 but escaped. He is wanted in the US on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

At the height of his powers, he is believed to have controlled smuggling routes from Colombia through Venezuela to Central America and eventually the US.

He is thought to have transported hundreds of tonnes of cocaine and accrued a vast fortune over almost two decades.

Barrera, now 51, was arrested in Venezuela in September 2012 while making a call in a phone booth.

He only ever used public telephones to communicate with his family and allies, in an attempt to avoid his calls being traced.

The US had offered $5m (£3m) for information leading to his arrest and Colombia added an additional $2.7m to that reward.

Colombian national police chief Jose Roberto Leon said Tuesday’s extradition showed other criminals they were better off turning themselves in.”

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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

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Colombia 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 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

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U.S. v. Edward J. Snowden – Federal Criminal Complaint

June 21, 2013

As International Extradition Lawyer Douglas McNabb predicted, the U.S. has charged Mr. Snowden in a Federal Criminal Complaint. He was charged on June 14, 2013 with the following federal criminal violations:

  • 18 USC 641 – Theft of Government Property
  • 18 USC 793(d) – Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information
  • 18 USC 798(a)(3) – Willful Communication of Classified Communications Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person

A copy of the Snowden Federal Criminal Complaint may be found here.

“U.S. charges Snowden with espionage”

The Washington Post on June 21, 2013 released the following:

By Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz,

“Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” according to the complaint. The last two charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.

The complaint, which initially was sealed, was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered and a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications. After The Washington Post reported the charges, senior administration officials said late Friday that the Justice Department was barraged with calls from lawmakers and reporters and decided to unseal the criminal complaint.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Snowden flew to Hong Kong last month after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii with a collection of highly classified documents that he acquired while working at the agency as a systems analyst.

The documents, some of which have been published in The Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, detailed some of the most-
secret surveillance operations undertaken by the United States and Britain , as well as classified legal memos and court orders underpinning the programs in the United States.

The 30-year-old intelligence analyst revealed himself June 9 as the leaker in an interview with the Guardian and said he went to Hong Kong because it provided the “cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained.”

Snowden subsequently disappeared from public view; it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

The leaks have sparked national and international debates about the secret powers of the NSA to infringe on the privacy of Americans and foreigners. Officials from President Obama on down have said they welcome the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs and the safeguards they say are built into them. Skeptics, including some in Congress, have said the NSA has assumed the power to soak up data about Americans that was never intended under the law.

There was never any doubt that the Justice Department would seek to prosecute Snowden for one of the most significant national security leaks in the country’s history. The Obama administration has shown a particular propensity to go after leakers and has launched more investigations than any previous administration. This White House is responsible for bringing six of the nine total indictments ever brought under the 1917 Espionage Act. Snowden will be the seventh individual when he is formally indicted.

Justice Department officials had already said that a criminal investigation of Snowden was underway and was being run out of the FBI’s Washington field office in conjunction with lawyers from the department’s National Security Division.

By filing a criminal complaint, prosecutors have a legal basis to make the detention request of the authorities in Hong Kong. Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, probably under seal, and can then move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial in the United States.

Snowden, however, can fight the extradition effort in the courts in Hong Kong. Any battle is likely to reach Hong Kong’s highest court and could last many months, lawyers in the United States and Hong Kong said.

The United States has an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, and U.S. officials said cooperation with the Chinese territory, which enjoys some autonomy from Beijing, has been good in previous cases.

The treaty, however, has an exception for political offenses, and espionage has traditionally been treated as a political offense. Snowden’s defense team in Hong Kong is likely to invoke part of the extradition treaty with the United States, which states that suspects will not be turned over to face criminal trial for offenses of a “political character.”

Typically in such cases, Hong Kong’s chief executive must first decide whether to issue a warrant for the accused’s arrest. But the extradition treaty also says that in exceptional cases a provisional warrant can be issued by a Hong Kong judge without the chief executive’s approval. The judge must give the chief executive notice, however, that he has issued the warrant.

A spokesperson at the office of Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said there was no information on Snowden’s case. The police department did not respond to calls or e-mails. At the police station for Central District in Hong Kong Island, police officers on duty said they had not heard anything about Snowden.

If Snowden is arrested, he would appear before a judge. Bail would be unlikely and, instead, Snowden would be sent to the Lai Chi Kok maximum-security facility in Kowloon, a short drive from the high-end Mira Hotel, where he is last known to have stayed in Hong Kong.

Snowden could also remain in Hong Kong if the Chinese government decides that it is not in the defense or foreign policy interests of the government in Beijing to have him sent back to the United States for trial.

Another option would be for Snowden to apply for asylum with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which handles most asylum requests in Hong Kong. The UNHCR was closed Saturday morning and did not immediately respond to requests for comment via e-mail and phone. The asylum application process can take months or even years because Hong Kong has a severe backlog. The Hong Kong government cannot formally surrender individuals until their asylum applications have been processed.

Snowden also could attempt to reach another jurisdiction and seek asylum there before the authorities in Hong Kong act.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Three Members of an Alleged International Cyber Fraud Ring Extradited from Romania to the United States

May 2, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2013 released the following:

“Romanian nationals Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea, and Nicolae Simion will make their first appearance before United States District Judge Edward R. Korman later today following their extradition to the United States from Romania. The defendants are charged with participating in a sophisticated multi-million-dollar cyber fraud scheme that targeted consumers on U.S.-based Internet marketplace websites such as eBay.com. Their extradition followed a coordinated international takedown in December 2012, during which law enforcement officials in Romania, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Canada, acting at the request of the United States, arrested six Romanian nationals, including Mircea, Pieptea and Simion. The Bucharest Appeals Court ordered the extraditions of Mircea, Pieptea, and Simion on February 2, 2013. The defendants were subsequently transported to the Eastern District of New York and arraigned on March 27, 2013.

The extraditions were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George C. Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office

As alleged in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators saturated Internet marketplace websites, such as eBay.com, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, and CycleTrader.com, with detailed advertisements for cars, motorcycles, boats, and other high-value items generally priced in the $10,000 to $45,000 range. Unbeknownst to the buyers, however, the merchandise did not exist. The so-called sellers corresponded with the victim buyers by e-mail, sending fraudulent certificates of title and other information designed to lure the victims into parting with their money. Sometimes, they pretended to sell cars from non-existent auto dealerships in the United States and even created phony websites for these fictitious dealerships.

The indictment further describes how, after the purported sellers reached an agreement with the victim buyers, they would often e-mail them invoices purporting to be from Amazon Payments, PayPal, or other online payment services, with wire transfer instructions. However, these invoices were also fraudulent—the members of the conspiracy used counterfeit service marks in designing the invoices so that they would appear identical to communications from legitimate payment services. The fraudulent invoices directed the buyers to send money to American bank accounts that had been opened by foreign nationals in the United States, known as “arrows.” Finally, the arrows would collect the illicit proceeds and send them to the defendants in Europe by wire transfer and other methods. For example, the arrows forwarded defendant Pieptea $18,000 cash in fraud proceeds hidden inside hollowed-out audio speakers.

According to court filings, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly defrauded their victims of at least $2 million during the course of the conspiracy. Notwithstanding the scope of the fraud, however, one of the co-conspirators boasted, in a recorded conversation, that “criminals will not be extradited from Romania to the U.S.A….[I]t will never happen.”

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to commit substantives offenses against the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering. The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count of conviction.

“These three defendants allegedly reached across the globe to defraud Americans, pretending to be legitimate online vendors and payment providers. In reality, they were con men with a computer. The defendants’ extraditions to the United States should make clear that our efforts to protect Internet consumers do not stop at our borders,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Thanks to our strong international partnerships, the notion that cybercriminals will never be extradited to the United States is merely a criminal’s fantasy.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI for its assistance.

The Romanian government, particularly the Ministry of Justice, the Romanian Internal Intelligence Service, and the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, provided significant assistance and support during the investigation, arrest, and extradition of the defendants. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs worked with its counterparts in Romania to effect the extraditions, and the U.S. Marshals Service coordinated and transported the defendants to the United States.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cristina Posa, Nadia Shihata, and Claire Kedeshian and Trial Attorney Carol Sipperly of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section.

The charges against the defendants are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendants:
Cristea Mircea, age 30, Romania
Ion Pieptea, age 36, Romania
Nicolae Simion, age 37, Romania”

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. 1343

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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 Romania 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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