Russia Submits Bout Extradition Documents to U.S.

August 27, 2012

RIA Novosti on August 23, 2012 released the following:

“Russia has handed to the United States documents required by the country to consider the extradition of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the Russian Justice Ministry said on Thursday.

Earlier, Bout’s wife Alla addressed a message to the ministry asking for her husband to be transferred to Russia to serve his sentence at home. The ministry is Russia’s central body authorized to file extradition requests in the framework of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

“In this connection, a request has been sent through the Russian Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic channels to the U.S. Department of Justice to provide documents stipulated by the convention’s Article 6,” the Justice Ministry said.

A former Soviet military officer, Bout was found guilty of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to use anti-aircraft missiles, and selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.

The businessman, who denies the charges against him, was sentenced to 25 years in April. Bout is serving his prison term in the United States Penitentiary, Marion (USP Marion) in Illinois.

The Russian ministry said there has been no response from the U.S. Department of Justice yet. It said that once the appropriate documents are provided, they will be submitted to a Russian court, which will make a ruling on administering the sentence in Russia.

The Russian Justice Ministry said a copy of such a ruling will “be handed to the U.S. Department of Justice as a guarantee that the sentence will be administered in Russia.”

Attorney General Eric Holder has said the United States may consider Bout’s extradition to Russia if it receives a request from the Russian authorities.

Article 6 of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons stipulates that the sentencing state (in this case, the U.S.) provide to the administering state (Russia) a certified copy of the judgment and the law on which it is based. The sentencing state should also provide a statement indicating how much of the sentence has already been served, including information on any pre-trial detention and other relevant information.”

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

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

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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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Will US boot Bout back to Russia?

July 18, 2012

RT on July 18, 2012 released the following:

“According to the executive director of an international NGO, the US attorney general is considering the possibility of extraditing two Russian nationals sentenced in the US to lengthy prison terms for arms and drugs trafficking.

“We learned that US Attorney General Eric Holder is considering the return of Victor Bout to Russia, along with another Russian arms and drugs trafficker, Konstantin Yaroshenko,” Kathi Lynn Austin, the Executive Director of the Conflict Awareness Project, told reporters on the sidelines of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York on Tuesday.

However, Austin expressed reservations about allowing the Russians to serve out the remainder of their prison sentences in their homeland.

“Allowing Bout a transfer to Russia would pose a risk both to international peace and security as well as to US interests,” said Austin, an arms trafficking expert.

Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov told journalists that although the necessary steps are being taken to arrange for Bout’s return to Russia, the extradition is not likely to happen soon. Konovalov said the US courts require any individual convicted in the United States to serve at least half of his sentence in a US prison.

The minister added that so far the Russian national’s extradition is only being discussed at the diplomatic level.

The former Soviet officer, who founded an air cargo company, was convicted of “conspiracy to kill Americans” and supply arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), which the US government lists as a terrorist organization. He was sentenced in November to 25 years in prison by the New York Federal Court.

Bout, who is said to have been the inspiration behind the 2005 Hollywood film, Lord of War, maintained throughout his ordeal that he would never get a fair trial in the United States.

At the same time, the Justice Ministry has applied for the transfer of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced to a 20-year prison term on drug-trafficking charges.”

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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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Russia to seek Bout, Yaroshenko extradition from US

April 12, 2012

The Voice of Russia on April 12, 2012 released the following:

“Moscow will seek extradition of businessman Viktor Bout and pilot Konstatnin Yaroshenko from the US, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Washington, adding that he had discussed the issue with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Lavrov said that Russia and the US are aware that such questions must be settled within the law.

Earlier this month a Federal District Court in Manhattan sentenced Bout to 25 years in prison after proclaiming him guilty of conspiring to kill Americans after trying to sell weapons to undercover American agents posing as members of a rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Russia condemned the verdict, calling it “baseless and biased”.

Konstatnin Yaroshenko neither committed any crime but was extradited from Africa to face drug smuggling charges and face a 20-year prison term.”

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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 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.


Colombia captures alleged drug trafficker who pioneered use of submarines

March 21, 2012

Pocono Record on March 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Fox News Latino

BOGOTA, Colombia — A drug trafficker who pioneered the use of submarines to smuggle cocaine has been captured in southwestern Colombia, the National Police said.

Jose Samir Renteria, who is the subject of a US extradition request, was arrested in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca province.

Renteria has links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group and the Los Rastrojos gang, US officials said.

The suspect got involved in the illegal drug trade in the mid-1980s, when he allegedly began smuggling cocaine into the US using speedboats that operated out of Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Renteria became a partner of Neftali Umensa, one of the top leaders of the FARC’s 30th Front, who was killed by the army on Oct. 20.

US investigators determined that Renteria also had contacts and did business with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. Renteria, who is wanted on drug charges by a US federal court in Florida, is the subject of a Dec. 2, 2010, extradition request.

Colombian drug traffickers started using semi-submersibles in 1993. In that year, Colombia’s navy seized one of the vessels off Providencia Island in the Caribbean.

The semi-submersibles cannot dive like normal submarines, but are equipped with valves that, when opened by the operators, quickly flood the vessel, causing it and any drugs on board to quickly sink to an unrecoverable depth.

The crew then jumps overboard and, since no drugs are discovered, they avoid prosecution.

Since 1993, Colombian security forces have seized more than 50 of the vessels.

In September 2011, a sub with the capacity to haul at least 10 tons of drugs to Central America was seized from the FARC on Colombia’s southwestern Pacific coast by a police special operations unit.”

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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 Colombia 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.


U.S. extradites Colombian accused of taking Americans hostage

March 12, 2012

CNN on March 12, 2012 released the following:

“By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — U.S. authorities have extradited a suspect from Colombia whom they accuse of holding three American citizens hostage, the Justice Department said Monday.

Alexander Beltran Herrera, 35, was scheduled to be arraigned at 11:15 a.m. ET Monday in Washington on charges in connection with the hostage taking of Americans Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell.

Alleged leftist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, abducted the three U.S. defense contractors in 2003, the Justice Department said. They were among 15 hostages freed in a 2008 rescue mission.

For part of a two-year period beginning in November 2004, Beltran Herrera was responsible for moving the hostages and keeping them imprisoned, the Justice Department said in a statement Monday.

“Throughout the captivity of these three hostages, FARC jailors and guards, including Beltran Herrera, used choke harnesses, chains, padlocks and wires to restrain the hostages, and used force and threats to continue their detention and prevent their escape,” the statement said.

Beltran Herrera is an accused member of the FARC, the Justice Department said.

A federal indictment charges Beltran Herrera with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, three counts of hostage taking, one count of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the charges.

The indictment names 17 other accused members of the FARC as defendants.

“Today’s extradition underscores our resolve to hold accountable all those responsible for this crime and we will not rest until every one of them is brought to justice,” said Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general for national security, in a statement.”

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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 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.


18 Members of FARC Indicted; Will Face Extradition to U.S. Upon Capture

December 15, 2010

Tanja Anamary Nijmeijer, a Dutch national who moved to Colombia and joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2002, and 17 other members of the FARC designated foreign terrorist organization were indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., yesterday on seven counts of terrorism and weapons charges arising out of their participation in the hostage-taking of three American citizens in the Republic of Colombia.

The three former hostages—Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes—were held in the Colombian jungle by members of the FARC for more than five years until their rescue by Colombian military forces on July 2, 2008.

The indictment charges Nijmeijer, 32, and 17 others with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, three substantive counts of hostage taking, one count of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Sixteen are being charged for the first time; two others, charged earlier, face new counts in today’s indictment. If convicted of these charges, each individual would face a maximum term of up to 60 years of incarceration, the maximum sentence permitted under Colombian law for Colombian nationals extradited to the United States for prosecution. The weapons charge carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years’ incarceration. Four of the 18 individuals are also charged in count two of the indictment with an eighth count, the premeditated murder of a U.S. national outside the United States, done during the perpetration of, and attempt to perpetrate, a kidnapping, which also carries a maximum sentence of up to 60 years’ incarceration in this case.

Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, Thomas Janis, and a Colombian national, Sgt. Luis Alcides Cruz, were conducting counter-drug aerial surveillance in southern Colombia on February 13, 2003, when their Cessna aircraft experienced engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing on a remote mountainside where a large contingent of FARC guerrillas were gathered. All five occupants of the plane survived the crash, but were immediately taken captive by the FARC guerrillas. The pilot of the plane, Thomas Janis, and the Colombian national, Sgt. Cruz, were both immediately executed by the FARC, and their bodies were left near the crash site. The other three, Mr. Gonsalves, Mr. Stansell, and Mr. Howes, were held under barbaric conditions in the jungle for more than five years.

The indictment alleges that choke harnesses, chains, padlocks, and wires were used to bind the necks and wrists of the American hostages to prevent their escape, and a large barbed-wire concentration camp was constructed to hold dozens of civilian hostages in the jungle for more than a year, including the three Americans.

As Colombian rescue efforts intensified in later years, the indictment alleges that the hostages were forced to move long distances, from camp to camp, including a grueling 40-day march while carrying heavy backpacks through dense jungle to outrun Colombian military forces. The indictment also alleges that an agreement was made to kill the hostages, if necessary, to prevent their escape or rescue.

The indictment sheds new light on the international aspect of the FARC’s hostage-taking enterprise, and this crime in particular. For example, it alleges that the hostages were taken to a meeting in 2003 with several senior members of the FARC’s Estado Mayor Central, who told the Americans that their continued detention as U.S. citizens would assist the FARC’s goals by increasing international pressure on the government of Colombia to capitulate to the FARC’s demands. The FARC published communiques articulating their political demands on the Internet, in Spanish and English, to be read in the United States and, in 2003, released a proof of life video articulating their demands to Colombian and American media outlets.

The indictment also alleges that the hostages were transported, at times, outside Colombia and into the Republic of Venezuela, in order to prevent the Colombian police and military from rescuing the hostages.

Four of the individuals in yesterday’s indictment, Carlos Alberto Garcia, also known as “Oscar Montero” and “El Paisa,” Juan Carlos Reina Chica, also known as “Farid,” Jaime Cortes Mejia, also known as “Davison,” and Carlos Arturo Cespedes Tovar, also known as “Uriel,”are charged with murder of a U.S. national outside the United States, for their involvement in the kidnapping when Thomas Janis was shot in the back of the head with an assault rifle by FARC guerrillas. The indictment also alleges that “El Paisa” gave the order to shoot at the disabled plane as it was attempting to land.

Tanja Nijmeijer gained notoriety in recent years in Colombia, after her personal journal was recovered in a Colombian military raid in 2007, and excerpts of a video interview of her were released to the international press in 2010. On the recently-released video, Nijmeijer describes how she first learned about Colombia’s guerrilla war when she was still a student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She describes how she helped the FARC as an operative in Bogota before eventually joining the group as an armed insurgent in November, 2002.

Yesterday’s charging document represents the fifth indictment issued in the District of Columbia against various FARC members involved in the kidnappings.

Two individuals in the indictment—Carlos Alberto Garcia, aka El Paisa, and Jose Ignacio Gonzalez Perdomo, aka Alfredo Arenas—were charged previously in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia in 2003, shortly after the three Americans were taken hostage. The recent indictment re-files each of those charges and adds a new homicide count against El Paisa. The indictment also adds a new weapons charge and an additional material support charge against both men.

The U.S. government, through the Rewards for Justice Program of the Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the apprehension or conviction of any FARC commanders involved in the hostage taking of Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, and Marc Gonsalves, and the murder of Thomas Janis.

Upon the apprehension of those indicted, they will face immediate extradition to the U.S., assuming cooperation of Colombian officials.

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 mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Update: Suspected Russian Arms Dealer’s Extradition Delayed Until October

September 6, 2010

A suspected Russian arms dealer’s extradition to the United States will be delayed at least until Oct. 4 to allow a Thai court to review new charges filed as a precaution by Washington, a judge said Friday.

The announcement by the Bangkok Criminal Court is the latest blow to Washington, which had expected Viktor Bout’s rapid extradition after a Thai appeals court gave its approval on Aug. 20.

Bout, 43, is reputed to be one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers.

His high-profile arrest in a 2008 U.S.-led sting operation in Bangkok ended a decade-long chase for the Russian, who has never been prosecuted despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions, a Belgian money-laundering indictment and a travel ban.

After last month’s ruling, the U.S. quickly flew a plane to Bangkok to pick up Bout. The move was publicized in Thailand as the latest evidence of heavy U.S. pressure in a case that has turned into a diplomatic tug-of-war between Washington and Moscow.

Experts say Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, has knowledge of Russia’s military and intelligence operations and Moscow does not want him to go on trial in the United States.

Bout has been indicted in the U.S. on four terrorism-related charges and faces possible life in prison. The U.S. indictment alleges Bout agreed to sell weapons to U.S. agents posing as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization. Bout denies the accusations.

The Bangkok Criminal Court in August 2009 rejected an initial U.S. extradition request in a ruling that stunned Washington. The U.S. responded by requesting an appeal but also filed new charges against Bout to keep him detained in case the lower court’s ruling was upheld.

When the appeals court reversed the ruling last month, the U.S. moved to drop the second charges. However, under Thai law, a defendant has the right to object to charges against him being dropped, Criminal Court Judge Krerkrit Ittarat said. That means Bout could object to dropping the charges as a way to stall his extradition, a stance that his lawyer has said he will take.

The court said it previously set a date of October 4 for Bout to hear the new charges and will stick to that schedule.

The Department of Justice does not comment on pending extradition cases, but is probably anxiously awaiting the outcome of the October hearing.

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 mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Russian Arms Dealer May Avoid U.S. Extradition; Thai Appeals Court to Rule on Friday

August 19, 2010

The suspected Russian arms dealer known as “The Merchant of Death” is tired of prison life but optimistic a Thai appeals court will rule in his favor Friday and refuse to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said.

Viktor Bout, a 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer, is reputed to be one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers. He has been linked to some of modern history’s most notorious conflicts, allegedly supplying weapons that fueled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa to clients such as former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Bout’s high-profile arrest in a 2008 U.S. sting operation in Bangkok ended nearly a quarter-century of cat-and-mouse chases for the elusive Russian. It also raised Washington’s hopes for a quick handover of a man who has never been prosecuted despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions, a Belgian money-laundering indictment and a travel ban.

Instead, it spurred a diplomatic tug-of-war between Moscow and Washington that led to lengthy delays and prompted a lower court judge to seek input from the Foreign Ministry, saying he was in “a tough position” and feared ties with both countries could be at stake. The Bangkok Criminal Court ultimately rejected the U.S. extradition request in August 2009.

Experts say Bout — who gained notoriety in the 1990s for running a fleet of aging Soviet-era cargo planes to conflict-ridden hotspots in Africa — has been useful for Russia’s intelligence apparatus, and Moscow does not want him going on trial in the United States.

Bout has repeatedly denied the accusations and claims his air cargo business was legitimate.

The 2005 Nicolas Cage film, “The Lord of War,” is widely believed to be modeled after Bout’s life.

The Russian’s own nickname was coined in 2000 when a high-ranking minister at Britain’s Foreign Office dubbed him “The Merchant of Death” for his alleged arms role in Africa.

Bout’s March 2008 arrest at a Bangkok luxury hotel came after an elaborate operation led by U.S. agents posing as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization. The four-month investigation involved meetings in Curacao, Denmark and Romania.

After his arrest, Bout was indicted in the U.S. on charges of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to FARC, including more than 700 surface-to-air missiles, thousands of guns, high-tech helicopters and airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles.

The lower Thai court said it rejected the U.S. extradition request because Thailand considers the FARC a political movement and not a terrorist group, and that extradition could not be granted for a political offense.

Thai prosecutors appealed the decision on Washington’s request. In February, U.S. prosecutors filed new charges in hopes of convincing reluctant Thai officials to extradite Bout despite Russia’s objections.

The new charges say Bout and his former business associate, Richard Chichakli, used a series of front companies to purchase two planes from U.S. companies in 2007, in violation of U.S. and United Nations sanctions. At the time, U.S. officials intervened to block the sale.

Russia, for its part, made great efforts to get Bout out of Thailand — and when that failed tried to make his stay more comfortable.

Both Washington and Moscow have accused the other of trying to win Bout’s release by bribing Thai officials — a common practice in a country where the judiciary is notoriously corrupt. Russia, which sold cheap oil to Thailand after Bout’s arrest and has talked of selling it fighter jets, summoned the Thai ambassador in Moscow at one point and the country’s foreign ministry demanded the case be investigated objectively and impartially.

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 mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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