Extradition hearing today for mother of Hollywood arson suspect

May 17, 2012

Daily News Los Angeles on May 17, 2012 released the following:

“By Fred Shuster City News Service

LOS ANGELES – The mother of a man suspected of setting dozens of fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley over New Year’s weekend will face an extradition hearing today. | POLICE NEWS

Dorothee Burkhart, 53, is fighting extradition to her native Germany, where she is wanted on a host of fraud charges.

Attorneys for both sides are expected to argue before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick, who rejected a request to free Burkhart on bail pending today’s proceedings.

The woman has described herself as the sole link between her “mentally ill” son, Harry, and “the outside world.” Her 24-year-old son faces trial on dozens of arson-related charges stemming from the series of fires that terrorized Los Angeles over four nights at the start of the year.

“I was the person who was the bridge between the outside world and the inside of his brain,” Burkhart said at a previous hearing.

Her arrest pending extradition is thought to have sparked the arson rampage allegedly committed by her distraught son, her only child.

An attorney for Harry Burkhart asked Eick in court papers last week to temporarily suspend the extradition proceedings on the grounds that the mother is a key witness in her son’s case.

Dorothee Burkhart is accused in Frankfurt of subletting apartments that she did not own, failing to pay rent and security deposits on other locations, and defrauding a cosmetic surgeon out of about $10,000 for breast augmentation surgery for which she never paid, according to court papers.

The extradition process can take upward of a year, federal prosecutors said. It took about four months to extradite former TV producer Bruce Beresford- Redman to Mexico to face charges for the killing of his wife — an unusually short amount of time because Beresford-Redman decided not to appeal the judge’s extradition order.

Harry Burkhart faces 100 felony charges related to 49 blazes set between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2. Most of the fires began in automobiles but usually spread to homes in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and surrounding areas.

His bail has been set at $7.5 million. A trial date has not been set.”

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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 Germany 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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Kozeny Won’t Be Sent to U.S., U.K. Privy Council Rules

March 28, 2012

BusinessWeek.com on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“By David Glovin

Viktor Kozeny, the Czech-born businessman wanted in the U.S. where he’s accused of orchestrating a massive bribery scheme, won’t be extradited to New York from the Bahamas, the U.K.-based Privy Council ruled.

The Privy Council, the final court of appeal for some British Commonwealth countries, today affirmed a 2010 ruling by a Bahamas court refusing extradition. Kozeny, dubbed “the Pirate of Prague” in media reports, has been sought by U.S. prosecutors since 2005. He also faces unrelated fraud charges in the Czech Republic.

“We have prevailed on all points,” Kozeny, 48, said today in an interview from the Bahamas, which he hasn’t left since 1999.

The unanimous ruling by the five-judge council probably eliminates any chance that Kozeny will be returned to the U.S., where he faces federal charges for organizing a 1998 scheme to bribe government officials in Azerbaijan in return for rights to buy Socar, the state oil company.

Federal prosecutors in New York said he paid millions of dollars and promised billions more to spur the sale. A U.S. businessman, Frederic Bourke, is fighting his 2009 conviction on charges that he conspired with Kozeny. Socar was never sold.

Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York, declined to comment on the ruling.

Privy Council
The Privy Council said in a 22-page decision that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. It said Kozeny may not be extradited for bribery crimes that “would not constitute offenses against the law of the Bahamas if they took place within the Bahamas.”

The panel didn’t rule on the merits of the U.S. bribery case. The appeal of the prior extradition ruling was pursued by Bahamas prosecutors and supported by U.S. authorities.

Kozeny says the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws bribes to non-U.S. officials for business, didn’t cover him. U.S. prosecutors say the law applies to Kozeny, who brought American investors into the deal.

After the charges were unsealed in 2005, Kozeny spent 19 months in a Bahamas prison before being released to his family’s seaside estate, from where he’s fought extradition.

Benjamin Brafman, a New York lawyer who represents Kozeny in the U.S., said he doubted Kozeny would ever face charges in New York “unless he decides to come back.” The U.S. case is pending.

Feeling ‘Truly Vindicated’
Kozeny today expressed gratitude toward his lawyers and said he “felt truly vindicated” by the ruling. “They said it’s not a crime in the Bahamas,” he said. “They said it’s not a violation of the code over here.”

Kozeny, who may still face arrest if he leaves the Bahamas, said he will leave it to his lawyers to seek resolution of the charges. “At the most,” he said, the case should be settled with a “$10,000 civil violation.”

“This is obviously not a transaction that I would think about coming close to or repeating,” he said. Still, “it’s not much different from what happens all over the world.”

“It’s very painful to be accused that you crossed the line when you didn’t,” he added.

New York State prosecutors separately have accused Kozeny of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from his U.S. investors in the Azerbaijan deal. Czech prosecutors have presented evidence to a court trying Kozeny in absentia on charges of embezzling $1.1 billion from mutual funds he established in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s.

A U.S. federal appeals court in December upheld Bourke’s conspiracy conviction. He has asked the Court of Appeals in Manhattan to reconsider and remains free pending the outcome.

The U.S. case is U.S. v. Kozeny, 05-cr-00518, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The U.K. case is Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Foxhill Prison and the Government of the U.S. v. Kozeny, No. 73 of 2010.”

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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 the United Kingdom here and the extradition treaty between the United States and Bahamas 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.