“Alleged Al-Qaeda Member Extradited to U.S. to Face Charges in Terrorism Conspiracy”

October 3, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 3, 2013 released the following:

Defendant and Others Planned Suicide Bomb Attack Against Americans in Europe

WASHINGTON— Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian national, has been extradited to the United States to face charges in federal court in the District of Columbia stemming from a conspiracy to carry out a suicide bomb attack against Americans in Europe.

Trabelsi was arrested in Belgium on Sept. 13, 2001, before he carried out the planned attack. After 12 years in custody there, where he served time on Belgian charges, Trabelsi was extradited and transported today to face charges in the United States. Trabelsi was indicted in 2006 by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and a superseding indictment was filed the following year. The charges were unsealed today.

The indictment alleges that Trabelsi personally met in the spring of 2001, with Osama bin Laden to volunteer for a suicide bomb attack against U.S. interests. Preparations unfolded over the next several months, according to the indictment, with Trabelsi allegedly obtaining chemicals in Europe and subsequently joining others to scout a potential target: a military facility that was used by the United States and the United States Air Force.

The charges were announced by Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, John P. Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Trabelsi, 43, is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S Nationals outside of the United States; conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction; conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization; and providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to the indictment, Trabelsi was residing in Germany in 2000, when he met with other conspirators and made preparations to travel to Afghanistan to train for jihad.

In the spring of 2001, the indictment alleges, he met with bin Laden in Afghanistan, and offered to carry out a suicide bomb attack. According to the indictment, he later spoke with Muhammed Atef, a high-ranking member and chief military planner of al-Qaeda, at bin Laden’s direction. Additionally, the indictment states, he met with others with whom he was to form a cell for the purpose of carrying out a suicide attack.

According to the indictment, Trabelsi and other conspirators discussed various possible targets for a suicide bomb attack and he undertook training in how to place explosives. In June 2001, the indictment states, Trabelsi traveled to Pakistan, where he obtained money from an al-Qaeda associate for use in carrying out his mission. The following month, he rented an apartment in Brussels, Belgium. While in Belgium, Trabelsi bought quantities of chemicals to be used in manufacturing a 1,000-kilogram bomb, the indictment alleges. Additionally, according to the indictment, he traveled at night with conspirators to scout the military base.

The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The Department of Justice, Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter. The Department of Justice expressed appreciation to the government of Belgium and the Belgian Federal Police for their assistance. The prosecutors handling the case are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan M. Malis and Opher Shweiki of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Mara Kohn of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

If convicted of the charges filed in the indictment, Trabelsi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated a criminal law. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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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 Belgium 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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“Mastros set free in France, but U.S. may still go after them”

June 6, 2013

The Seattle Times on June 5, 2013 released the following:

“Appeals court says the 88-year-old developer and his wife won’t be extradited to the U.S., where they are charged with bankruptcy fraud.

By Sanjay Bhatt
Seattle Times business reporter

Fugitive Seattle businessman Michael R. Mastro may well live out the rest of his life as a free man in the foothills of the French Alps.

A French appellate court Wednesday denied on humanitarian grounds the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to extradite Mastro and his wife, Linda, said Jim Frush, a Seattle attorney who represents the 88-year-old former real-estate magnate at the center of one of Western Washington’s biggest bankruptcies.

“I spoke with Mike, who was understandably very happy and relieved and indicated to me that he and Linda were about to leave for dinner,” he said.

The Mastros had been under electronic monitoring and restricted to their apartment after 6:30 at night as part of an earlier French order.

A federal grand jury indicted the Mastros on charges of bankruptcy fraud in August 2011, two months after the couple disappeared from sight.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle declined to comment Wednesday on the French court’s ruling, saying only that it was examining its options, including a possible appeal.

It’s likely the Justice Department filed a “red notice” with Interpol, a global law-enforcement agency, that puts 190 countries on notice of the outstanding arrest warrant for the couple, said Douglas McNabb, an international criminal-defense lawyer in Washington, D.C.

If the Mastros try to leave France for any other country, they could be held there and possibly extradited to the United States to face the criminal charges, McNabb said.

But if the French court’s ruling isn’t appealed and the Mastros stay put in France, “the ballgame is over with,” he said.

The ruling of the appeals court in Chambéry can be appealed to the Council of State, France’s highest judicial body and roughly equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Juliet Sorensen, a law professor at Northwestern University who teaches international criminal law.

A treaty signed by the two nations in 1996 requires each to honor a request to extradite persons charged with certain offenses that are punishable in both countries.

But there are exceptions, including one that allows either nation to deny extradition if surrendering the person “might entail exceptionally serious consequences related to age or health,” according to the treaty.

The French appellate court ruled that extraditing the Mastros could have such consequences, and wasn’t persuaded by the Justice Department’s arguments to the contrary, Frush said.

Developer’s downfall

Mastro’s four-decade career as a prolific developer ended in a spectacular crash in 2009 when three banks forced him into bankruptcy court.

Mastro told the court he had nearly $587 million in liabilities, including more than $100 million he owed to individual investors and local groups such as the Italian Club of Seattle.

Against those liabilities, Mastro reported assets of $249 million, most of it debt others owed him.

State regulators also charged him with breaking the law by making false statements to “Friends & Family” investors and selling unregistered securities, charges that Mastro denied.

Mastro and his wife disappeared suddenly in June 2011 after they ignored a bankruptcy judge’s order to hand over two giant diamond rings worth more than $1.4 million.

They officially became fugitives a month later when warrants were signed for their arrest. But those warrants were for contempt of court, a civil violation, and experts said it would be difficult to extradite the Mastros without a criminal charge.

Then in August 2011, the U.S. Attorneys Office filed a sealed criminal complaint against the Mastros, charging them with bankruptcy fraud.

The complaint was made public last October after the Mastros were arrested near Lake Annecy, in the French Alps, where they had rented a succession of apartments.

The next month, a federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment containing 43 counts for bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.

The diamond rings, along with nearly 300 other pieces of jewelry, were seized in France in October after the Mastros were apprehended.

The collection is worth more than $3 million, according to the court-appointed trustee in Mastro’s bankruptcy case, James Rigby, who has recovered only a fraction of the money owed to creditors. The Mastros’ attorneys are fighting in court to stop the FBI from transferring some jewelry to the trustee.

The Mastros spent seven weeks in a French jail before a court placed them on supervised release with electronic monitoring pending an extradition proceeding.

Health concerns

In February, the three judges of the Court of Appeal in Chambéry ruled that the Mastros had been charged with offenses that were subject to extradition, but noted that lengthy incarceration likely would have serious consequences on their health.

The court’s 19-page ruling in February mentioned Mastro’s age and a serious head injury he suffered in a fall in Palm Desert, Calif., two years ago. The court also mentioned the “psychological frailty” of Linda Mastro, who is in her 60s, revealing that she attempted suicide shortly after the couple was arrested in France.

At a hearing in late May, the Justice Department’s representative told the French court that if the Mastros were extradited and convicted in the United States, they would not ask for more than two years in prison, Frush said Wednesday, citing information he received from Thomas Terrier, the Mastros’ attorney in France. Moreover, U.S. officials told the court the federal Bureau of Prisons was equipped to manage the Mastros’ health concerns, Frush said.

Terrier could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sorensen, the Northwestern University law professor, said the French government had discretion to extradite the Mastros despite the exception in the treaty, and said the Council of State had heard extradition appeals from the United States in the past.

Investor reaction

News of the French court’s ruling dismayed Kirkland resident Barry Bloch, one of the “Friends & Family” investors who loaned the developer money in return for pledges of interest payments.

“What a joke,” Bloch said after hearing from a reporter of the ruling.

Bloch and his wife, Teresa, loaned Mastro money and knew him for about four years before the developer’s fortunes unraveled.

“It didn’t bankrupt us, but it’s a sizable amount of money, and it’s disgusting that he isn’t brought to justice,” said Barry Bloch, 68.

He recalled an exchange with the developer at Mastro’s Seattle office on Rainier Avenue South as the real-estate market was imploding, but before the banks forced Mastro into bankruptcy court.

“I asked him how he sleeps at night, and he said, ‘I sleep like a baby.’ That spoke volumes,” Bloch 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 France 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

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Alleged International Credit Card Trafficker BadB Extradited from France to the United States

June 18, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 15, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Vladislav Anatolievich Horohorin, aka “BadB,” of Moscow, an alleged international credit card trafficker thought to be one of the most prolific sellers of stolen credit card data, has been extradited from France to the United States to face criminal charges filed in the District of Columbia and in the Northern District of Georgia.

The extradition was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. for the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia, U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Assistant Director for Investigations David J. O’Connor, and Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.

Horohorin, 27, made his first appearance before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in the District of Columbia yesterday. He was extradited to the United States on June 6, 2012, and was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay in the District of Columbia on June 7, 2012. He was ordered detained pending trial.

“According to the indictment, Mr. Horohorin was one of the most notorious credit card traffickers in the world, transacting in stolen credit information across the globe,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Due to our strong relationships with our international law enforcement partners, we secured his extradition to the United States, where he now faces multiple criminal counts in two separate indictments. We will continue to do everything we can to bring cyber criminals to justice, including those who operate beyond our borders.”

“Our indictment alleges that this young man used his technological savvy to profit by selling stolen credit card information over the Internet on a massive scale,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We are pleased that he has been extradited to the United States to face these criminal charges in a District of Columbia courtroom. This prosecution demonstrates that those who try to rip off Americans from behind a computer screen across an ocean will not escape American justice.”

“The Secret Service is committed to identifying and apprehending those individuals that continue to attack American financial institutions, and we will continue to work through our international and domestic law enforcement partners in order to accomplish this,” said USSS Assistant Director O’Connor.

“International cyber criminals who target American citizens and businesses often believe they are untouchable because they are overseas,” said U.S. Attorney Yates. “But as this case demonstrates, we will work relentlessly with our law enforcement partners around the world to charge, find, and bring those criminals to justice.”

“Horohorin’s extradition to the United States demonstrates the FBI’s expertise in conducting long-term investigations into complex criminal computer intrusions, resulting in bringing the most egregious cyber criminals to justice, even from foreign shores,” said Special Agent in Charge Lamkin. “The combined efforts of law enforcement agencies to include our international partners around the world will ensure this trend continues.”

Horohorin was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia in November 2009 on charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a superseding indictment against Horohorin in August 2010, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and access device fraud. In August 2010, French law enforcement authorities, working with the U.S. Secret Service, identified Horohorin in Nice, France, and arrested him as he was attempting to board a flight to return to Moscow.

According to the indictment filed in the District of Columbia, Horohorin was the subject of an undercover investigation by USSS agents. Horohorin, who is a citizen of Israel, Russia, and Ukraine, allegedly used online criminal forums such as “CarderPlanet” and “carder.su” to sell stolen credit card information, known as “dumps,” to online purchasers around the world. According to the indictment, Horohorin, using the online name “BadB,” advertised the availability of stolen credit card information through these web forums and directed purchasers to create accounts at “dumps.name,” a fully-automated dumps vending website operated by Horohorin and hosted outside the United States. The website was designed to assist in the exchange of funds for the stolen credit card information. Horohorin allegedly directed buyers to fund their “dumps.name” accounts using funds transferred by services including “Webmoney,” an online currency service hosted in Russia. The purchaser would then access the “dumps.name” website and select the desired stolen credit card data. Using an online undercover identity, USSS agents negotiated the sale of numerous stolen credit card dumps.

According to the indictment filed in the Northern District of Georgia, Horohorin was one of the lead cashers in an elaborate scheme in which 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards were used to withdraw more than $9 million from over 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide in a span of less than 12 hours. Computer hackers broke into a credit card processor located in the Atlanta area, stole debit card account numbers, and raised the balances and withdrawal limits on those accounts while distributing the account numbers and PINs to lead cashers, like Hororhorin, around the world.

Horohorin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of access device fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, and a statutory consecutive penalty of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft count.

The charges in the indictments are merely allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The District of Columbia case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Carol Sipperly, Ethan Arenson and Corbin Weiss of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Weiss also serves as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia case is being investigated by USSS. Key assistance was provided by the French Police Nationale Aux Frontiers and the Netherlands Police Agency National Crime Squad High Tech Crime Unit. The FBI Atlanta Field Office provided information helpful to the investigation.

The Northern District of Georgia case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nick Oldham and Lawrence R. Sommerfeld and Trial Attorney Sipperly of CCIPS. The Atlanta case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistance was provided by numerous law enforcement partners. U.S. Secret Service provided information helpful to the investigation.

The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided invaluable assistance.”

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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 France 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

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email: