“US rejects Russia’s extradition request for jailed businessman Bout”

November 10, 2012

RT on November 10, 2012 released the following updated story:

“The US Justice Department has turned down Russia’s request to extradite businessman Viktor Bout, currently serving a 25-year prison term. Moscow condemned the decision, saying it will continue to advocate for Bout.

The US Justice Department refused the extradition request over the seriousness of the crimes with which he was charged, among other reasons, Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan said.

“We have received an official response from the Justice Department,” Dayan told Itar-Tass news agency. “The denial to grant the request is explained by the fact the prisoner has a pending appeal, by the seriousness of the crime, by objections from the law enforcement authorities, and also by the fact that his criminal past renders such request impossible.”

According to Dayan, the request for extradition to Russia may be filed again in two years.

“Our only hope right now is the appeal,” said Dayan, adding that Bout was “jailed for political reasons, and hasn’t committed any crimes.”

Bout maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, and said the trial had been unfair after it ended.

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the US Justice Department’s decision. Konstantin Dolgov, Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law said that Russia will continue advocating for the businessman’s, who has not committed any crimes against the US or American citizens.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on the request of the United States.

In November 2011, the former Soviet officer and founder of an air cargo company, was convicted by a New York federal court of “conspiracy to kill Americans and US officials,” and of supplying arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), which the US government lists as a terrorist organization.

In April 2012, a US judge sentenced the Russian businessman to 25 years in jail, five years of supervised release, and a $15 million fine. Bout was charged with conspiracy to acquire and export surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles. US prosecutors sought a life sentence for conspiracy to murder US citizens, but the judge found the charges unfounded.

Viktor Bout was later transferred to serve his sentence to a maximum security prison in Colorado dubbed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies.’ The move elicited condemnation from Moscow, who expressed concern for Bout’s health and called the move a selective punishment that violated his human rights.”

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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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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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USA: The long arm of American copyright-Asia Sentinel

March 21, 2012

facthai.wordpress.com on March 17, 2012 released the following:

“Kim Dotcom and America’s Debatable Hegemony

America’s long arm might be too long. Washington attempts to rewrite the concept of sovereign borders in Megaupload copyright case

Paul Karl Lukacs
Asia Sentinel: March 13, 2012

On Feb. 29, a New Zealand judge reminded the United States government that its power has limits. Washington is unlikely to heed the message.

The issue before the Auckland High Court was whether Kim Dotcom (previously Kim Schmitz) should be given bail for house arrest and electronic monitoring pending his August extradition hearing. The US Justice Department, alleging that Dotcom’s Megaupload family of web sites constituted a criminal conspiracy to infringe copyrights, demanded that Dotcom be held in a Kiwi jail until formally transported to the States for trial.

In his judgment, Justice Timothy Brewer rejected the Americans’ argument, noting “the presumption at law that Mr. Dotcom should have his liberty,” and ordered that the defendant remain out of prison. Justice Brewer, a junior bench officer who has held his post for less than two years, found that Dotcom was not a proven flight risk since, among other factors, the US and allied governments had seized about US$25 million in assets, which Dotcom would presumably fight to regain.

The judge, addressing only the specific issue before him, did not ask the larger question: How exactly was the United States claiming authority over Dotcom, a European operating in Asia and Oceania?

It is a good question. American prosecutors allege that Dotcom, known for his extravagant lifestyle, engaged in criminal copyright infringement. But federal courts have made it clear that US copyright laws apply only within the physical territory of the United States and do not apply outside the country.

“Copyright laws do not have extraterritorial operation,” according to the federal appeals court in New York. Its coordinate court in California agreed, thereby setting the rule for the country’s entertainment industry.

Consequently, the US assertion of jurisdiction against Dotcom is problematic on its face. A review of the factual allegations in the Justice Department’s 72-page indictment reveals that the case is based on a weak jurisdictional foundation, specifically that Dotcom allegedly had a banking relationship with PayPal and that he allegedly stored some data on a few servers in Virginia (possibly without his knowledge). In other words, it is obvious from the prosecutors’ own one-sided version of events that Dotcom operated outside the United States and that investigators were charged with digging deep to find one or two gotchas on which the US could premise its exercise of personal jurisdiction.

While other nations are limited by resources and principles from exerting their will outside of their borders, the US has not been shy about attempting to dictate global rules. In 1977, Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in which it commanded that US nationals doing business abroad were required to adhere to American anti-bribery standards regardless of the economic impact or the on-the-ground reality.

In 2003, anti-pedophile hysteria resulted in the PROTECT Act, which prohibits US travelers from engaging in sexual intercourse with persons under 18 anywhere in the world no matter the local age of consent. Recently, US expats have been subject to financial reporting requirements that strip them of banking privacy.

While the extraterritorial reach of those laws was justified by the drafters on the grounds that they applied only to US nationals, the Dotcom case is a flat-out assertion by the United States that its laws can be applied to anyone anywhere — even when, as with the Copyright Act, federal judges have plainly said that they can’t.

Dotcom appears to have had nothing to do with the United States, and if he did, the Justice Department would have said so. Rather, Dotcom holds passports from Germany and Finland under different names (all of which are legal, as the New Zealand judge noted). His businesses are headquartered in Hong Kong. He lives with his children and pregnant wife in New Zealand.

Yet the US government has used the shakiest of jurisdictional pretexts to close his business, freeze his assets and arrest him, all of which happened without an adversarial hearing on the merits. In a routine civil copyright case, an injunction or attachment of assets can issue only after notice and an opportunity to test the plaintiff s evidence in open court. Here, the US government avoided those safeguards.

In an equally troubling development, multiple foreign governments have assisted the US in its prosecution. For example, at the bail hearing before Justice Brewer, the United States was represented not by independently retained counsel but by the New Zealand government’s Crown Law Office.

When executing the initial arrest warrant, the Kiwi police were armed, an unnecessary show of deadly force when dealing with a businessman accused of a property crime. In the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, police are reported to have dispatched about 100 officers to raid Dotcom’s offices and residences.

The United States is re-writing the very concept of borders. Previously, a nation’s ability to exert its authority was limited by physical restraints which stopped at, or, in some cases, well short of a line on a map. With modern electronics and communications equipment (not to mention mobile armed forces), a wealthy nation can exert pressure where ever it wants against whomever it targets.

Assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction by major powers may become one of the most controversial legal issues of the decade.”

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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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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.


FBI Seeks Extradition of Alleged Internet ‘Pirate’

January 20, 2012
Megaupload Kim Dotcom
Alleged Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom. Photo: Reuters

The Sydney Morning Herald on January 21, 2012 released the following:

“Kirsty Johnston

AN INTERNET multimillionaire accused of online piracy who allegedly headed up the global file-sharing website Megaupload.com from his luxury mansion north of Auckland faces extradition to the US after he was arrested yesterday by armed police at the request of US officials.

The FBI yesterday shut down Megaupload.com, one of the world’s most popular file-sharing websites, after filing an indictment in a US court earlier this month alleging its founder, Kim Dotcom, 37, (also known as Kim Schmitz) and six others, dubbed the ”Mega Conspiracy”, engaged in racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.

Schmitz, a former computer hacker, and six others were arrested on five charges laid in an indictment by a US grand jury in the state of Virginia.

The US Justice Department and the FBI who led the crackdown said Megaupload.com and other related sites generated more than $US175 million ($A168 million) in criminal proceeds and caused copyright holders more than $US500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content.

Megaupload is based in Hong Kong, but some of the alleged pirated content was hosted in the US on leased servers in Ashburn, Virginia, which gave US authorities jurisdiction, the indictment said.

Megaupload has boasted of having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors, according to the FBI indictment. At one point, it was estimated to be the 13th most frequently visited website on the internet.

Schmitz founded the Hong Kong-based Megaupload website in 2005, which distributed a myriad of copyrighted works including movies, television programs, music, software and books. Megaupload also offered financial incentives for users to upload popular content and drive web traffic to the site.

Schmitz made $US42 million from Megaupload and other associated websites in 2010, according to the FBI’s indictment.

Despite opposition to the site’s operations from record labels and other copyright holders, many celebrities and artists backed its work – with chart-toppers Kanye West, Will.i.am and P. Diddy starring in a support video last year.

The US indictment paints a picture of a sprawling multinational operation, with more than 20 search warrants executed in nine countries, including New Zealand and the US.

When he appeared in Auckland’s North Shore District Court yesterday, Schmitz, a flamboyant German computer hacker who has past convictions from his home country, said he ”had nothing to hide” when appearing alongside three of his co-accused. ”We don’t mind if there’s press coverage if people want to photograph us, let them,” he said, overriding his lawyer, Auckland QC Paul Davison.

Detective Inspector Grant Wormald said it was ”likely” the men had also breached New Zealand copyright laws, although police had no intention of laying charges in the country.

The men face copyright infringement charges in the US which carry sentences of up to 20 years.

Schmitz is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law, with a list of convictions including insider trading, credit card fraud, hacking and embezzlement. Schmitz also holds Finnish citizenship, and has Hong Kong and New Zealand residency.

Schmitz was granted New Zealand residency, reportedly after investing $NZ10 million ($A8 million) in government bonds and making a generous donation to the Christchurch earthquake fund.

Possessions taken from his $30 million mansion yesterday provided a hint of the extravagant lifestyles of the accused men.

More than 20 luxury cars worth a combined $6 million were taken from the site, including a 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, with the licence plate ”GOD”. Others including Mercedes Benzes, a Maserati and a Harley Davison motorbike.”

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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.

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