“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
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International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

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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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Suspected Mexican drug ‘queen’ extradited to U.S.

August 10, 2012
Sandra Avila Beltran
“Sandra Avila Beltran, also known as the “Queen of the Pacific.””

CNN on August 10, 2012 released the following:

“By the CNN Wire Staff

Mexico City (CNN) — One of the most high-profile women accused of connections with Mexico’s drug trade was extradited to the United States Thursday, officials said.

Mexican police handed over Sandra Avila Beltran, known as “The Queen of the Pacific,” to U.S. marshals at an airport in central Mexico Thursday morning, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

She will face cocaine trafficking charges in a federal court in Florida, prosecutors said.

Avila was once a key drug trafficking link between Colombia and Mexico, prosecutors have said. She was arrested in Mexico City on September 28, 2007, smiling before cameras as authorities trumpeted her detention.

Since then, her life has been the subject of a best-selling book and a popular ballad.

“The more beautiful the rose, the sharper the thorns,” says one line in “The Queen of Queens,” Los Tigres del Norte’s song describing Avila.

Her eye-catching nickname has regularly made headlines as Mexico’s case against her made its way through the nation’s courts.

A judge convicted her on money laundering charges, but ruled that Mexican prosecutors didn’t provide enough evidence to convict her of drug trafficking.

In 2011, authorities in Mexico City said they were investigating a tip that prison medical personnel had allowed a doctor to give Avila a Botox injection.

Avila denied that accusation, Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency reported.

For more than two years, Avila has tried to block a U.S. extradition request. A Mexican judge ruled that she could be extradited in June.

A 2008 U.S. Congressional Research Service report described Avila as “a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel who was instrumental” in building ties with Colombian traffickers.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Avila was suspected of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States along with Juan Diego Espinosa, a Colombian national who was also known as “The Tiger.”

The DEA said that in November 2001, Espinosa, Avila and others “allegedly arranged the shipment of cocaine from Colombia to the United States by ship.” The ship, loaded with 9,291 kilograms of cocaine, was boarded by U.S. agents near Manzanillo, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

U.S. authorities extradited Espinosa from Mexico in 2008. A judge sentenced him to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to a cocaine distribution conspiracy charge in 2009. A court document signed as part of the plea agreement said that he and Avila had taken part in a deal to distribute 100 kilograms of cocaine in Chicago.

In the United States, Avila faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if she is convicted of charges of conspiracy to import and sell cocaine, according to a 2004 indictment filed in U.S. district court.

In a 2009 interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on “60 Minutes” and CNN, Avila denied the charges against her, and blamed Mexico’s government for allowing drug trafficking to flourish.

“In Mexico there’s a lot of corruption, A lot. Large shipments of drugs can come into the Mexican ports or airports without the authorities knowing about it. It’s obvious and logical. The government has to be involved in everything that is corrupt,” she said.”

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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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New Zealand judge in Kim Dotcom extradition case steps down after jokingly calling US ‘enemy’

July 18, 2012

The Washington Post on July 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand judge has stepped down from overseeing the extradition case of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom after jokingly referring to the United States as “the enemy.”

The comment by Auckland District Court Judge David Harvey raised questions about his impartiality. He was discussing Internet copyright at a conference last week when he told an audience, “We have met the enemy, and he is U.S.”

Harvey’s comments referencing late cartoonist Walt Kelly were recorded and posted on the Internet.

The U.S. is attempting to extradite Dotcom on racketeering and money laundering charges that allege his file-sharing site was facilitating massive Internet piracy.

Harvey will be replaced by judge Nevin Dawson. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for March.”

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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.

————————————————————–

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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Mexican judges back extradition suspected drug queen to the US after previous attempts failed

June 8, 2012

The Washington Post on June 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — A panel of Mexican judges on Thursday agreed to the extradition of a suspected drug trafficker known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” who is wanted in the United States on cocaine-related charges.

The three federal appellate judges said Sandra Avila Beltran could be tried outside of Mexico, but only on one of the two charges prosecutors sought.

Avila cannot be tried for the seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine off a vessel in Mexico’s western port of Manzanillo because a Mexican judge acquitted her in that case in December 2010. An appeals court upheld the verdict last August.

Previous requests to extradite the high-profile suspect have been denied twice by a panel and then by a judge, who argued that the confiscation of the nine tons of cocaine would inevitably be part of the foreign trial.

But the judges on Thursday ruled that Beltran has to answer to a charge stemming from several seizures in Chicago in 2001 that amounted to 100 kilograms of cocaine. The 2004 indictment in the Southern District of Florida does not specify Beltran’s role in the drug-dealing case.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department must re-file the extradition request to leave out the charge related to the Manzanillo seizure. The department did not respond on Thursday to a request by The Associated Press for comment.

Avila remains in a prison in the Mexican state of Nayarit, pending trial for a separate money-laundering charge. It was not immediately clear how Mexican prosecutors would proceed with that charge.

Avila, who was arrested in 2007 sipping coffee in a Mexico City diner, has said she is innocent. Her attorney could not be immediately reached for fresh comment.

Her case is widely known in Mexico because Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, “the godfather” of Mexican drug smuggling who is serving a 40-year sentence for trafficking and the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

Prosecutors have alleged that Avila spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico’s drug trade. They say her romance with Colombian Juan Diego Espinoza brought together Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel with Colombia’s Norte del Valle.

The Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been locked in a vicious fight with violent Los Zetas gang in several regions of the country.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, 14 bodies were abandoned Thursday inside a bus near the city hall building of Ciudad Mante. Soldiers deployed in the area found a message in which a gang took responsibility for the killings, according to a Tamaulipas statement. It did not say which gang or give more details.

Drug cartels often leave messages in crime scenes as a threat to enemies.

The bodies of the three women and 11 men have not been identified.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it is placing financial sanctions on a wife and son of Guzman, who is Mexico’s most-wanted man.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that it had designated Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, under the U.S. Kingpin Act. That bars American citizens from making business transactions with them and allows authorities to freeze their assets in the U.S.

Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and has evaded authorities ever since, moving from hideout to hideout as he directs the operations of his powerful cartel. The U.S. and Mexican government have been intensifying their actions against Guzman’s family in recent months.

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have said they believe Guzman has children with several partners, including an 18-year-old woman whom he married in an elaborate public ceremony in 2007. The Treasury Department described Salazar Hernandez, 53, as a wife of Guzman, without providing details.

The department last month announced sanctions against Guzman’s sons Ivan Archivaldo “El Chapito” Guzman Salazar, 31, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 22.”

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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.

————————————————————–

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

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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

————————————————————–

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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Wrong Paperwork Used to Seize MegaUpload Property, Judge Says

March 21, 2012

PC World on March 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Jeremy Kirk, IDG-News-Service:Sydney-Bureau

An order granted to law enforcement allowing them to seize luxury cars and other personal effects from the estate of MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom is invalid, a judge in New Zealand ruled on Friday.

A police commissioner applied for the wrong type of seizure order, requested by the U.S., which now is “null and void and has no legal effect,” Judge Judith Potter ruled.

The ruling means Dotcom has a chance to recover some of the items, which reportedly included a Rolls Royce and a pink Cadillac, seized during his January 20 arrest at his mansion outside Auckland. It was unclear on Monday the next step Dotcom would have to take to get his property returned, and his attorneys could not immediately be reached.

Dotcom, 38, faces extradition to the U.S. on various copyright infringement and money laundering charges relating to his website MegaUpload, a file-sharing and storage website, which was shutdown in January.

New Zealand police applied for a second order to seize more of Dotcom’s property and, after realizing the mistake, tried to include the property improperly seized under the first order, Potter wrote.

Dotcom’s attorneys argued that some or all of their client’s property should be released. But representatives acting for the U.S. said the subsequent seizure order, dated February 1, is sufficient for holding Dotcom’s property.

Extradition proceedings for Dotcom, who is free on bail but subject to electronic monitoring, are expected to begin in August.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges MegaUpload collected US$175 million in criminal proceeds, rewarding users for uploading and sharing content without the permission of copyright holders.

Also charged are MegaUpload defendants Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm and Bram Van Der Kolk.”

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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 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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US Govt ‘throwing everything’ at Dotcom

February 11, 2012

The New Zealand Herald on February 11, 2012 released the following:

“By Michael Dickison

The United States Government is throwing “everything in the book” at Kim Dotcom, say top forensic accountants. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is even expected to sign the final extradition request.

Charges against the founder of Megaupload, a file-sharing website, go beyond copyright infringements and include money laundering and racketeering.

PricewaterhouseCoopers director of forensic services Alex Tan said it followed a tendency by US prosecutors to take a “very wide interpretation of the law”.

“It’s a case that has demanded the world’s attention. If they’re going to do this, and spend all this money and go through governments, it’s not for a two-month jail sentence.

“They’re going to throw everything in the book and be very good at applying laws,” Mr Tan said.

An extradition request was part of a reciprocal treaty and not out of order – but it was nevertheless delicate and conducted at the highest levels, he said.

“It’s not done at the local level. It’s most likely that the Secretary of State – Hillary Clinton – personally signs it.

“Between the FBI and Hillary Clinton, it goes past a thousand eyes because they’re asking a sovereign country to put somebody on a plane.”

The final request would have to be robust, Mr Tan said.

“You’re not going to give Hillary Clinton a bunch of dud papers to sign, because it makes her look silly.”

Dotcom is in custody as he awaits a February 22 callover, having had requests for bail declined.

His heavily pregnant wife – who has been described as in a “frail” condition – is living at their house in Auckland with their three children.

Most of the family’s possessions have been seized by authorities.

The indictments for Dotcom and his co-defendants have been made available, but the official extradition request is yet to be lodged.

The deadline is March 5.

Mr Tan said the money-laundering and racketeering charges had been devised on the back of the alleged copyright infringements.

Money-laundering charges applied to any transactions of money made from serious crime – even where there was no attempt to conceal it, he said.

“A guy hits a grandmother over the head and steals her handbag for $30, then buys a pack of cigarettes with it – if you deal with it in any way at all it becomes money laundering,” he said, though he added that the original crime must be serious, usually carrying a jail term of at least five years.

As part of the charge, the indictment against Megaupload lists a series of payments to the firm hosting its servers.

Elsewhere in the document, the prosecutors allege that the website concealed its criminal activity because it withheld copyrighted files from its search results.

Mr Tan said the racketeering charge could be applied where a group of defendants faced two crimes out of a list of 35, which included copyright infringement and money laundering.

The charge had been “extremely successful” in elevating penalties and dealing to organised crime and the Mafia.

There was no direct equivalent to the charge in New Zealand, Mr Tan said, although various fraud charges could add up to something similar.”

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