West Michigan man fights extradition to Mexico in alleged 2001 killing of wife, unborn child

April 17, 2012

MLive.com on April 17, 2012 released the following:

“By John Agar

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A West Michigan man suspected in the 2001 killing of his pregnant wife is fighting extradition to Mexico where the government wants him tried for murder.

Jose Luis Castillo, a U.S. citizen born in Texas, is accused of killing and beheading his wife, Maria Elena Mata Hernandez, and stuffing her body into a suitcase.

He has a hearing this week in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

As part of a treaty with Mexico, U.S. prosecutors in Grand Rapids have asked Magistrate Judge Hugh Brenneman Jr. to find the complaint sufficient, and forward the extradition request to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for a final decision.

Defense attorney Donald Garthe said his client, who is serving eight to 15 years in prison for third-degree sexual assault in Berrien County, is fighting the extradition complaint. He noted that the complaint names “Jose Luis Castillo” as the suspect, while his client’s name is Raul Luis Castillo Jr.

Raul Castillo is on his birth certificate and state prison records. The government says he uses both names.

Regardless, Garthe said Monday: “He denies he killed his wife.”

He said that testimony of witnesses is not credible, and that there is no evidence from the crime scene linking his client to the killing. Garthe said witnesses only identified his client as the suspect after being told by authorities, 10 years after the killing, “that the murderer’s name was Raul Castillo.”

In the request for extradition, prosecutors said that a diplomatic note sent to the U.S. detailed the woman’s late May 2001 killing in the municipality of Soledad de Graciano, San Luis Potosi.

The government said Castillo strangled and suffocated her, which led to the death of her unborn child. He then allegedly abducted the daughter he had with his wife, referred to as Mata in court documents, and left for the U.S.

Under Mexican law, because he did not have legal custody of the child, he was accused of kidnapping her.
The couple were married in 1999 and moved to Michigan, her family told authorities.

They then left for Mexico because he was wanted in the U.S. for abducting a son from a previous relationship, records said.

The couple had a daughter, but the mother did not register her birth in Castillo’s name because he was wanted in the U.S.

He admitted to others that he killed her “as revenge for denouncing him to the authorities …,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Daniels wrote in court documents.

In early June 2001, the woman’s body was discovered inside a suitcase in an apartment after a witness reported an unbearable odor. The body, bound with plastic rope, had multiple injuries. Police found a bloody machete.

Witnesses said Castillo was last seen headed for Nuevo Laredo, which borders the U.S.

Castillo is believed to have spent time in the Benton Harbor area. Last year, he was sentenced to state prison for sexual assault.

Federal authorities took custody in February while Castillo was held at Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon. Authorities were concerned that if Castillo had been acquitted of sexual assaultl, he would flee. Federal prosecutors last year filed paperwork, recently unsealed, seeking custody.

Daniels said a hearing on Thursday would establish probable cause. In court documents, he discounted Castillo’s denials.

“Although the defendant was the last person seen with Maria and fled with (their daughter) Jennifer immediately after the murder, and the body was found in a suitcase belonging to him, and the severed head was found in a plastic bag given to him, both in the apartment he had rented, alongside the “Tommy” jeans that he wore, he now contends that there is insufficient evidence to link him to the brutal murder of his wife and unborn child.””

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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 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.


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.


Russia Alarmed by Online Fraud Suspect’s Extradition to U.S.

January 20, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek on January 19, 2012 released the following:

“By Marina Sysoyeva

Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it’s “alarmed” that Swiss and American authorities didn’t inform it about the extradition to the U.S. of Vladimir Zdorovenin, who’s accused of online fraud.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first case when U.S. security forces organize a detention of our nationals in third countries, often on dubious grounds and using a provocation,” Alexander Lukashevich, a ministry spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement. “This concerns improper exterritorial application of U.S. legislation against Russian citizens.”

Zdorovenin was arrested last March in Zurich and arrived in New York on Jan. 16 after extradition by Swiss authorities, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan. His son Kirill is also wanted and remains at large. U.S. prosecutors charged the two Russian nationals with taking part in a scheme to gain illegal computer access to American bank accounts through bogus e-commerce websites.

At his Jan. 17 arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein, Vladimir Zdorovenin pleaded not guilty to the charges through his lawyer, Sabrina Shroff. She declined to comment on the case after court.

Russia has insisted consular officers are granted access to Zdorovenin in the U.S. to guarantee his rights, according to Lukashevich.”

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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 Switzerland 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.