Terror suspect would be stateless after extradition, court told

Supreme court hears case of Minh Pham, who faces extradition to US on terror charges and is fighting to retain UK citizenship

A British passport. 

A British passport. 

A man alleged by MI5 to be involved in “terrorism-related activities” would be rendered stateless if he was removed from Britain, the supreme court has heard.

Minh Pham, who is in his 30s and is being held in prison, has been named for the first time in his three-year legal battle to retain his UK citizenship. He is facing extradition to the US on terrorism charges. The test case is being heard by seven justices in the UK’s highest court.

The appeal comes in the wake of government proposals to limit the right of British citizens to enter the country if they are suspected of returning from involvement in violent Islamic extremism.

Until Tuesday’s hearing Pham’s identity had been withheld. He was named only as B2 in earlier proceedings at the special immigration appeals commission (Siac) and the court of appeal.

Pham was born in Vietnam and came to the UK in 1989. He subsequently acquired British citizenship at the age of 12. When he reached 21 he converted to Islam. He has a British wife and children in the UK.

In 2011, Home Office ministers ordered him to be deprived of British nationality after an MI5 assessment concluded that he was involved in terrorism-related activities. Pham’s lawyers say he would be left stateless if he were deprived of British nationality on security grounds.

Hugh Southey QC said it appeared that Pham in effect lost his Vietnamese nationality when he was granted British citizenship in the 1990s. “It’s highly questionable whether Vietnam would accept him back,” he told the court.

Under a 1954 United Nations convention, countries are not allowed to render individuals stateless. Pham’s case also raises questions about his entitlement to citizenship within the EU. Southey said: “It’s clear that in treaties there’s a well established principle of EU citizenship [in addition to national citizenship].

In Vietnam, any decision about whether an individual is deemed to be a national is an executive rather than judicial matter, the court was told. Judgment is expected to be reserved until next year. The case continues.

Karim Baratov, alleged Yahoo hacker, will bypass extradition hearing and go to U.S. to fight charges

Defence lawyer will detail plan regarding extradition to a judge in Hamilton court next Friday

Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old charged in connection with an American probe into a Yahoo hacking operation, will forgo an extradition hearing scheduled for this fall, electing to head straight to the U.S to face the charges, his lawyer told CBC News on Friday.

Baratov will either waive his right as a Canadian to an extradition hearing entirely, or he'll consent to being extradited. Either path eliminates the need for the hearing and speeds up his opportunity to address the charges, lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said.

"He can't wait to change scenery," he said.

U.S. authorities allege Baratov, from suburban Ancaster, Ont., was a "hacker for hire" with Russian ties. But Canada would have to surrender Baratov to the U.S. for him to face charges there. Baratov just wants to go deal with the charges in the U.S. as quickly as possible, DiCarlo said.

"Go there, finish it there, let's get some lawyers and let's move on with this," DiCarlo said. "Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time."

Moving forward to the U.S.

Though both paths lead to dealing with the charges he faces directly with American authorities, DiCarlo wasn't sure on Friday which one he'll choose. There would be different outcomes for each option. He plans to detail his plan in front of a judge in Hamilton court on Aug. 18.

 

'Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time.'- Amedeo DiCarlo, lawyer for Karim Baratov

Waiving the extradition — essentially turning himself in to American authorities — could open Baratov to any additional charges the U.S. decides to bring, DiCarlo said.

Consenting to the extradition would still give Canada's justice minister up to 90 days to sign off on transferring Baratov to the U.S. But despite that potential delay, consenting would send Baratov to the U.S. only under the charges of the indictment that was already released in March.

DiCarlo said he is meeting this weekend in the U.S. with lawyers from Manhattan-based firm Murray, Mancilla and Fantone LLP to try to get closer to a decision on which route he will take. The talks so far have not been about making deals for information or how Baratov will plead in exchange for better treatment, DiCarlo said.

But he said he's eager to get his client to the U.S. to start addressing the allegations head-on instead of in the kind of proxy battle he's been engaged in during bail hearings and preliminary extradition talks.

'He's not the person they described'

Baratov was arrested March 14 in Hamilton under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.

Baratov has been held without bail since his arrest after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled in April that he was too much of a flight risk to be released prior to an extradition hearing.

Yahoo said last September that information from at least 500 million user accounts had been stolen in a cyberattack two years earlier. Baratov is accused of hacking 80 Yahoo accounts and faces 20 years in prison in the U.S., if convicted.

The U.S. also charged two Russian intelligence officers and a fourth man.

Baratov's lawyers have said their client had no idea who he was dealing with, or exactly what he was doing. The FBI documents submitted to secure his arrest in Canada paint a false picture, DiCarlo said. "He's not the person they described," he said. "What are they afraid of? This guy's going to go make 20 passports and become 20 people and then hack the world? No!

"It's not even close to that," DiCarlo said. "So it's so blown out of proportion and I think that's kind of where we are."

India to sign more extradition treaties, block escape routes of financial criminals

Assuring the Parliament there was no let up in hot pursuit of the financial criminals fleeing overseas, the Indian Government has said that it is entering into extradition treaties with as many countries possible so that there is no escape route left for offenders.

Congress leadership protesting against Government's failures and alleged help to Lalit Modi by the MEA.  Photo courtesy: Congress Sandesh

Congress leadership protesting against Government's failures and alleged help to Lalit Modi by the MEA. Photo courtesy: Congress Sandesh

Responding to concerns raised by some Members of Parliament, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said, "It is the policy of the Government of India to conclude Extradition treaties with as many countries as possible so as to ensure that fugitive criminals do not escape justice."

"The Government of India has been making every effort to bring back fugitive criminals who have fled after committing a crime in the country. The Government of India enacted the Extradition Act, 1962 which deals with the law and the matters relating to the extradition of fugitive criminals. Furthermore, India has signed extradition treaties with 47 countries and entered into extradition arrangements with nine more countries to facilitate extradition. In the last fifteen years, India successfully brought back 62 fugitive criminals from various foreign countries," Singh said.

According to the Minister, in 2016, a total of four criminal fugitives namely Abdul Wahid Siddibapa (UAE), Kumar Krishna Pillai (Singapore), Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel (UK) and Abdul Rauf Merchant (Bangladesh) were successfully extradited/deported to India.

TheDepartment of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, has also prepared a Draft Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 which provides for confiscation of assets of fugitive economic offenders.

To another query regarding Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, the second Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar inform the House that pursuant to India-UK Extradition Treaty, a formal request for extradition of Mallya was forwarded to the UK authorities on 9th February 2017 through diplomatic channels. On 2 and 3 May 2017, a team led by the Additional Director, CBI and comprising officers from CBI and Enforcement Directorate visited London and provided additional documents in support of the extradition request and answered the queries raised by the concerned UK authorities. The case is pending adjudication before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, London. Extradition hearings are scheduled to commence from 4 December 2017.

Regarding Modi, the Central Crime Branch, Tamil Nadu police registered a FIR on 13 October 2010 against Modi. On the basis of criminal investigations initiated by Tamil Nadu police, a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) was registered by the Enforcement Directorate.

Further, at the request of the Enforcement Directorate, Modi’s passport was revoked by Regional Passport Office, Mumbai on 3 March 2011 which was later restored to him on the directions of Delhi High Court. In November 2012, the Government of UK was formally requested to deport Lalit Modi to India. The UK Government vide their message dated 21 December 2012 denied our request citing their domestic laws. However, the UK side suggested India to submit a request under the usual mechanism for international judicial cooperation.

Accordingly, the Enforcement Directorate got issued a Letter of Request by the Special Court, PMLA, Mumbai for the execution of the Non-Bailable Warrant on Mr. Lalit Modi and his consequent transfer to India in terms of the relevant provisions contained in the PMLA, 2002 and the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) on criminal matters.

The said Letter was forwarded to the competent authorities in UK on 6 February 2017. However, a formal response from the UK side in this regard is still awaited. The Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) has not received any formal request for extradition of Modi from the concerned law enforcement agencies in India, Akbar informed the House.

Two Romanian criminals who slipped into Britain cannot be extradited on human rights grounds because jail cells in the country are too small

 

  • High Court blocked extradition of two Romanian criminals over human rights

  • Justices said prisons in their homeland were 'too cramped' to send them there

  • Taxpayers will have to cover the costs of court case and legal aid bills

Cosmin-Ionut Bagarea, pictured, is one of two Romanian criminals who cannot be extradited out of the UK because 'jail cells in his homeland are too small'

Cosmin-Ionut Bagarea, pictured, is one of two Romanian criminals who cannot be extradited out of the UK because 'jail cells in his homeland are too small'

Two Romanian fugitives cannot be extradited because jail cells in their homeland are too small. UK judges say the cramped conditions contravene rulings from the European Court of Human Rights.

The court insists prisoners must ordinarily be allowed ‘personal space’ of around three metres squared. The Romanians face spending all or most of their sentence housed in a space of two metres squared.

Justices at the High Court in London want assurances that the men would have more space before they grant extradition requests. The ruling has delayed the removal of the pair from Britain – hitting taxpayers with court costs and legal aid bills. 

Lord Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Collins were told the Romanians – Ionel-Remus Grecu and Cosmin-Ionut Bagarea – would be sent to semi-open prisons. The jails have smoking zones, unlocked areas for walking, phones and up to ten hours visiting a month.

Also on offer are educational and cultural facilities, social assistance and vocational training outside prison. Grecu, 42, had fled to Britain to dodge serving a prison sentence for membership of a violent burglary gang. 

Seven months after his arrest in February last year he lodged an appeal against an extradition order. Bagarea, 39, was given a suspended prison sentence in January 2012 for growing cannabis.  He broke the terms of his sentence and fled to the UK where he was arrested last September. He is also appealing against extradition.

Court papers show both men would be moved to cells of two metres squared in Romania.

Lord Justice Irwin said lawyers for the two men argued the lack of personal space would breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

He said it would be ‘highly undesirable if extradition to Romania stalls’. But he said the process had be put on hold to give the Romanian authorities a chance to guarantee three metres squared for the men. 

He added: ‘The guarantee would need to be in clear terms, and terms which cover the whole of the anticipated terms of detention.’The Romanians were represented by a QC specialising in extradition law.

INMATES CAN ROAM AROUND ALL DAY... 

Although many prisons in Romania have cramped cells, inmates still enjoy a range of benefits and privileges. ‘Semi-open’ jails, where Grecu and Bagarea would serve most if not all of their prison terms, give inmates plenty of freedom.

Details are spelt out in the High Court judgment on their appeal against extradition. Detainees can buy food every week in the prison shops and may be granted the right to spend all day outside their detention rooms. They have to return to their rooms only for meals and evening roll call. Despite this, 19 Romanian prisons were hit by protests against poor conditions and overcrowding last year.

Bagarea’s Hampshire-based half-brother said the fugitive had been granted legal aid to fight extradition.George Munteanu also said the philosophy graduate had landed a job pending deportation proceedings.

‘Living in the UK has put him on the right path and changed his life,’ said Mr Munteanu, who came to Britain five years ago. ‘He has a job at Southampton port handling people’s luggage.

‘I think he has got legal aid. I don’t have money to help him and it is quite expensive. He came to the UK about three years ago and he likes it here. He has made a fresh start. I am sure he won’t want to go back to Romania.’

Theresa May has quietly dropped plans for the UK to quit the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights – which is not part of the European Union – until Brexit negotiations are completed.

As home secretary, she had raised concerns about the ECHR after it blocked the Government from expelling the hate preacher Abu Qatada.The move is expected to maintain the court’s jurisdiction until 2022 – the end of this parliament.

This week the Prime Minister unveiled details of an offer to the 3.2million EU citizens living in the UK, designed to reassure them that their rights will not be threatened. The majority will automatically qualify for a new ‘settled status’ once they have been in Britain five years, which will guarantee their rights to access public services for life.

But Government sources said that the package would allow officials to identify ‘serious and persistent criminals’ from EU states who would then be considered for deportation. Brexit Secretary David Davis said he did not expect anyone to be deported ‘unless they’ve committed a crime or [pose] some sort of security problem’. 

 


 

Will Donald Trump Free This Russian Superhacker?

A Putin ally and his criminal son bet big on Trump winning the White House. Will the new president reward their faith in him?

The Federal Detention Center near Seattle is home to 563 men and women who are all waiting for something. Some are accused criminals approaching trial, others are immigrants facing deportation, a few are serving a sentence and waiting for their release date to arrive. For the last year, Russian hacker Roman Seleznev has been waiting for Donald Trump.

Seleznev, 32, was once among the United States’ most-wanted computer criminals, sought for stealing credit-card numbers from restaurant point-of-sale systems and selling them in underground internet forums for millions. Then in July 2014 he made the mistake of leaving his native Russia for a resort vacation in the Maldives. U.S. officials persuaded local police to pick up Seleznev and turn him over to Secret Service agents, who hustled him onto a private jet, then onward to the U.S. Pacific island of Guam for easy extradition to Seattle.

In some ways, Seleznev’s rendition was not extraordinary. Russia has no extradition treaty with America, so U.S. cops have learned to indict Russian nationals in secret, then seek their arrest when they travel abroad. That’s what happened in January when police in Barcelona arrested 32-year-old Stanislav Lisov, wanted for allegedly looting U.S. bank accounts. And in October, Czech police picked up Russian national Yevgeny Nikulin in Pragueon allegations he hacked DropBox and LinkedIn. Both men are fighting extradition to the U.S.

Seleznev, though, is not just another Russian hacker. His father is Valery Seleznev, an outspoken member of the Russian parliament in the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and a political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The arrest immediately put added strain on U.S.-Russian relations already tested by Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the U.S.-led sanctions that followed. Russia’s foreign ministry held a press conference lashing out at the “kidnapping,” while the senior Seleznev insisted his son was no hacker, telling a Russian news agency, “This is some monstrous lie and provocation.”

Adjudicating Seleznev’s cases has been slow going for the U.S. In the last year alone the hacker has twice fired his lawyers, winning months-long postponements in his court dates each time. In April, frustrated prosecutors accused Seleznev of using delay tactics to try and put off the proceedings until after the 2016 election. “Defendant’s false and naïve belief that U.S. politics have any bearing on his case has been a constant theme in his conversations with his father.”

Prosecutors traced Seleznev’s election insights to a cryptic Dec. 15, 2015, phone call between the hacker and his father. On that day, Roman called Valery in Moscow to break the news that he’d lost a key motion attacking the lawfulness of his arrest. The senior Seleznev told him to keep his chin up, according to a translation by the Bureau of Prisons.

Valery: “You can be mad, but don’t go wild with rage.”Roman: “No, I mean I need to keep going to go to the trial. I will keep going.”Valery: “Absolutely.”Roman: “Yes.”Valery: “Besides, the relationships between the countries can improve. You know what I mean?”Roman: “That’s what I am hoping for.”Valery: “Well, they will get better, I am sure about that.”Roman: “Well, some day they will get better for sure.” [Giggles]Valery: “No, I think that they are already better.”Roman: “Really?”Valery: “Uh-huh.”Roman: “OK, OK.”Valery: “Yes.”

It’s unclear what inside information, if any, Valery Seleznev possessed on Dec. 15, 2015. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow that day for preliminary meetings on the Syria crisis, which might have given the Russian lawmaker hope for better U.S. relations.

The phone call occurred months after Russian government hackers first infiltrated the network of the Democratic National Committee, and was sandwiched between two milestones in Putin-Trump relations. Just five days earlier, on Dec. 10, 2015, retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn attended a Moscow conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kremlin-controlled television network RT. Flynn was a paid speaker at the event. Vladimir Putin was the guest of honor at the evening gala that followed, and photographs and video from the dinner showed Flynn seated at his right hand—something barely noted at the time, but which drew renewed attention last month when Trump appointed Flynn as his National Security Advisor.

Then on Dec. 17, Putin spoke publicly on GOP-primary frontrunner Donald Trump for the first time. “He is a bright and talented person without any doubt,” he said, describing Trump as “the absolute leader of the presidential race.” Trump returned the praise later that day. “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

By Dec. 20, Seleznev’s father was urging his son to engineer a delay in his trial by claiming he and his lawyers needed an additional year to examine the voluminous evidence in the case. “What I am saying is that one year will pass and another reporting period will start,” he said. “You know?” Seleznev decided to reject a government plea offer of 17 years in prison. “It seems like the political relationships are getting better,” he told his girlfriend that day. “Trump will be their president. He and Putin seem to be getting along.”

Despite the delays, Seleznev went to trial last August, and was convicted of 38 counts of computer intrusion and credit-card fraud. (Seleznev’s attorney didn’t respond to telephone and email inquiries for this story.) He’s looking at around 25 years in prison under America’s merciless federal sentencing guidelines, and still faces additional charges in Atlanta and Las Vegas for bank fraud and racketeering. His sentencing is set for April 2017.

Since his trial, of course, Roman Seleznev has been proven right about the outcome of the election, and last month Donald Trump was sworn into the office he won with the covert support of Kremlin-controlled hackers. The question is whether Roman and Valery Seleznev were also right that Trump’s election would improve Roman Seleznev’s lot.

Such an intervention could take many forms, ranging from pressuring prosecutors to seek a shorter sentence, all the way to executive clemency, in the mold of Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence in January. The easiest and least politically fraught would be to wait for Seleznev’s cases to run their course, then quietly send him home to Russia in a “treaty transfer.” Officially, Seleznev would then be expected to serve his sentence in a Russian prison, but he’d be subject to that country’s rules on early release or parole. Given his political connections he might just be cut loose, but even if he wasn’t he’d be better off than in the U.S. federal system, which has no parole.

But former prosecutors interviewed by The Daily Beast are doubtful that Trump will pull strings for the Russian hacker.

“I would be shocked,” said David Hickton, who resigned in November as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where he oversaw significant indictments against Russian criminal hackers, and the first-ever indictment against intruders from the Chinese government. “I think there would be all sorts of uproar if the practice of this administration were for the White House to interfere with cases being handled by the Department of Justice.”

Hickton, now director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, says previous administrations kept a strict written policy governing contact with Justice. “It was generally not appropriate for people in the Department of Justice to talk to the White House about any particular case,” he told The Daily Beast. “No partisan interfering, no political interfering, and no interference from above.”

If Trump holds to the same ethical norms—and, given the first few weeks of this administration, that’s by no means a sure bet—Seleznev’s prospects are limited. The president could legitimately pardon the hacker or commute his sentence, or enact a general policy that benefits future Russians targeted by U.S. prosecutors. Only time will tell. And Roman Seleznev has plenty of that.

Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Trump campaign wants Chicago case tossed

Nearly three months after an Austrian court ruled that Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash can be extradited to Chicago, we're still no closer to knowing if he'll ever show up.

The billionaire — who has ties to the Kremlin and to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort — is wanted in federal court to face racketeering charges.

But his all-star legal team, which includes former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff aren't waiting for Firtash to land on American soil.

Webb on Tuesday filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to toss the case, arguing that the alleged international titanium racket that Firtash is accused of masterminding has nothing to do with Chicago or the U.S.

"Firtash has never applied for the visa required to enter the United States and has never set foot in the country," Webb wrote. "The Indictment fails to allege a single illicit act by Firtash that either occurred in the United States or affected the United States."

Though prosecutors allege the scheme included plans to sell titanium to Chicago-based Boeing, Webb argues that the only agreement with Boeing was to "work toward" a deal. And the only other ties to Chicago are the use of a cellphone that was registered in the city, he adds.

Wanted in Chicago since 2013, Firtash's extradition has been complicated by a case filed against him in Spain. Austrian Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter said in February that he would not push forward with extradition until the Austrian courts have ruled on the Spanish claim on Firtash.

If Firtash is brought to Chicago, interest in his case will be stoked by his past business dealings with Manafort, detailed in court filings in a separate, civil case in New York. Manafort's ties to Russia are under federal investigation.

Chicago U.S. attorney's office spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick declined to comment Tuesday.

Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash's extradition to Chicago on hold

There has been a hitch in the extradition of a Ukrainian business tycoon to Chicago. Dmitry Firtash, who has been indicted in a Chicago racketeering case, has ties to both President Donald Trump and The Kremlin.

According to justice officials in Austria, Firtash's extradition to Chicago is on hold because Firtash is facing new organized crime charges in Spain.

The Chicago case alleges more than $18 million in payoffs for titanium contracts in India. The metal that was eventually to end up in brand-new 787 Dreamliner aircraft made by Chicago-based Boeing, considered a victim in the case.

READ: DMITRY FIRTASH INDICTMENT

He is rich and powerful enough in Ukraine to be known as an oligarch. In a Vienna courtroom, however, he is known as a defendant, fighting extradition to Chicago where he has been under the weight of a federal indictment since 2013.

Finally, on Tuesday, an Austrian appeals court ruled against Firtash and cleared the way for him to be sent to Chicago, subject to routine formal approval by Austria's justice minister.

Then, just after the clock started ticking toward his trip to O'Hare, time stood still-and remains so. With breathtaking speed, the Ukrainian oligarch was arrested while waiting for the elevator to leave court.

Austrian police took him into custody on an outstanding warrant from Spain that accuses him of money laundering and engaging in organized crime. He denies all the charges.

On Wednesday night, Firtash attorney Dan K. Webb, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago, said that the businessman remained behind bars in Vienna, Austria. "I was told earlier today that he is still in jail waiting for a bond hearing that will occur over the next day or so."

His release came Thursday morning. The Land Court of Vienna, having considered Spain's extradition request, released Firtash without additional bond money. He had previously posted bail totaling more than $150 million. However, it appears Mr. Firtash will be staying in Austria until the competing extradition requests are worked out, as he was required to surrender his foreign passport.

That arrest has complicated Firtash's extradition to Chicago. U.S. extradition approval by Austria's Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter is now on ice. Brandstetter says he won't make a decision about the Chicago extradition until Austrian courts have dealt with the Spanish warrant.

It is the latest legal pothole for Firtash, who had business ties with Paul Manafort, who managed President Trump's campaign last year. The men faced a federal civil racketeering suit alleging a New York hotel they planned to build was a facade for money laundering. A U.S. federal judge dismissed the suit in 2014.

Firtash's attorneys say he will be cleared of all charges in Chicago and declined to comment on the newly-executed Spanish arrest warrant. His U.S. legal team says it is "disappointed" in the extradition decision and is prepared to fight the charges in Chicago.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney here expresses thanks to the government of Austria for its close cooperation on law enforcement matters.

N.W.T. RCMP seek Canada-wide warrant for owner of Deepak International

 

Toronto businessman Deepak Kumar wanted on fraud charges related to million-dollar loan

RCMP are looking for Deepak Kumar, owner of Deepak International. He is wanted on fraud charges in relation to a million-dollar loan that allowed him to purchase two abandoned diamond cutting and polishing plants from the N.W.T. government.

RCMP are looking for Deepak Kumar, owner of Deepak International. He is wanted on fraud charges in relation to a million-dollar loan that allowed him to purchase two abandoned diamond cutting and polishing plants from the N.W.T. government.

RCMP are trying to track down the owner of Deepak International, who faces fraud charges in relation to a million-dollar loan that allowed him to purchase two abandoned diamond cutting and polishing plants from the Northwest Territories government.

Police allege Deepak Kumar misrepresented assets to secure the loan. He's been charged with fraud over $5,000, obtaining credit by fraud and creating false statements to obtain financing. Now RCMP are asking the N.W.T.'s public prosecution office to apply for a Canada-wide warrant for Kumar, who is believed to be outside the country.

RCMP would not say where they believe him to be, except that emails and information from other sources suggest he is not in Canada. The Canada-wide warrant needs to be issued by an N.W.T. Supreme Court judge before RCMP can start applying for an extradition order, which would force Kumar to return to Canada.

RCMP Cpl. Shawn King says Kumar has indicated he may come back willingly to face charges. King said he has personally had brief email contact with Kumar. "He was quite vague on the details about when he might be returning," said King.

RCMP investigate complaint

RCMP say their investigation began in 2015 as a result of a complaint from Callidus Capital Corp., a Toronto lender of last resort.

Deepak International said these steel shipping containers near the Yellowknife airport contained millions in new diamond cutting and polishing equipment. RCMP have not yet located the equipment put up as security for the loans. (CBC)

To secure the financing to purchase the diamond cutting plants, Deepak offered Callidus $10 million worth of diamond cutting and polishing equipment he said he had. He showed Callidus a bill of sale for the equipment, but never showed the firm the equipment itself.

Callidus has since won a $4.5 million judgment against Deepak, for not living up to the terms of the financing agreement. RCMP say they have not been able to locate the diamond cutting equipment put up as security for the loans.

Fugitive repatriated from US after almost 17 years in hiding there

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A fugitive was repatriated back to Taiwan Wednesday after hiding in the United States for almost 17 years, becoming the first criminal sent back by U.S. authorities since the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1979.

Ho Hsiu-chen was read her legal rights at the door of the plane that had carried her back from the United States, before she was handcuffed by Bureau of Investigation (BOI) agents at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at about 8 a.m.

Ho remained silent and did not respond to reporters' questions as she was escorted away from the airport.

Ho was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1999 for her role as an accessory to her husband, Hsieh Kuei-lin, a former chief of Gongguan Township in Miaoli County, in a corruption case.The wife fled Taiwan to avoid imprisonment, and a warrant for her arrest was issued in September 1999.

The husband, who was given a 14-year sentence for his involvement in a kickback scandal related to a road construction project, also fled overseas in 1999 but was repatriated back to Taiwan from Indonesia in 2006.

According to the BOI, Ho arrived in the United States on a tourist visa, and hid in Los Angeles.She got a student visa by enrolling in the University of the West, set up in Rosemead, California by the Taiwan-based Fo Guan Shan Buddhist group. She recently received her doctoral degree in religious studies from the university.

The BOI learned that her student visa expired in 2014, but she did not apply to extend her stay in the United States.The BOI said it then reported her to the U.S. immigration authorities for her illegal stay.

Ho was arrested and detained in November 2015. A U.S. immigration court later ruled that she be repatriated back to Taiwan. Chu Cheng-sheng, a senior officer at the BOI's international division, said the case marks the first time the bureau had worked with U.S. immigration and customs authorities to successfully repatriate criminals to Taiwan from the United States.

Chu, thanking the U.S. government, said the bureau hopes Taiwan fugitives hiding in the United States can be repatriated via such cooperation between the two sides.

There is no extradition agreement between Taiwan and the United States.

Many high-profile Taiwan fugitives have been hiding in the United States, including a former colonel, Liu Kuan-chun, of the National Security Bureau who has been wanted for his alleged involvement in a slush fund scandal.

Another fugitive, Wang You-theng, founder of the now collapsed Rebar Group, was killed in a car crash last month after hiding in the United States for almost a decade. Wang had been accused of embezzling huge sums of money from Rebar's subsidiaries.

Israelis in JP.Morgan hack case to be extradited to US

Gery Shalon, 32, and Ziv Orenstein, 41, among four indicted for scam that compromised data of millions of customers

Gery Shalon, suspected of being involved in several fraud schemes tied to the NYSE and a massive data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co. seen at the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, July 22, 2015.  (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Gery Shalon, suspected of being involved in several fraud schemes tied to the NYSE and a massive data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co. seen at the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, July 22, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities have approved the extradition to the United States of two nationals indicted over a cyber attack against JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest computer frauds in history. Gery Shalon, 32, and 41-year-old Ziv Orenstein were arrested in Israellast July and will be extradited following a US request, the justice ministry said in a statement on Monday.

 

They risk lengthy prison sentences if convicted, it said, adding that both suspects had consented to the extradition. It did not say when this would take place.

Shalon and Orenstein were among four people indicted in a massive hacking scheme by a “diversified criminal conglomerate” that compromised data from millions of customers of JPMorgan Chase and other firms, US officials said in November.

Ziv Orenstein, right, suspected of being involved with several fraud schemes tied to the NYSE and a massive data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co. seen at the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court, July 22, 2015.  (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ziv Orenstein, right, suspected of being involved with several fraud schemes tied to the NYSE and a massive data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co. seen at the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court, July 22, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The bank revealed in 2014 that a hack had compromised data on 76 million household customers and seven million businesses, including their names, email addresses and telephone numbers — the largest theft of data from a US financial institution.

The two Israelis and US citizen Joshua Samuel Aaron were charged with multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and other charges related to the hack.

Around the same time Shalon and Orenstein were arrested in Israel, US officials detained Anthony Murgio, who was charged with operating an illegal money transfer service using the bitcoin virtual currency that helped launder the profits from the scheme.

Aaron, who is known to have ties to Russia, remains at large, according to officials in the United States.The indictments include some 30 criminal charges carrying penalties of between five and 20 years each.

Why Mexico Sent ‘El Chapo’ to the U.S. Now

Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is set to face a New York judge as Donald Trump is sworn in as 45th president of the United States.

TIJUANA, Mexico — Notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera will finally appear before a U.S. judge this Friday, as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Guzmán was extradited Thursday “to face criminal charges in connection with his leadership of the Mexican organized-crime syndicate known as the ‘Sinaloa Cartel,’” the U.S. Department of Justice announced. He faces six separate indictments in the U.S. in multiple jurisdictions, including New York, San Diego, and Miami.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took custody of the kingpin in Ciudad Juarez—across the border from El Paso, Texas—on Thursday, in time to go before a Brooklyn judge on Inauguration Day. His transfer to the courthouse will briefly shut down the Brooklyn Bridge on Friday.

Guzmán, who is accused drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder, had exhausted all appeals against extradition in Mexico. But his lawyers complained they were not notified of the impending extradition and were caught completely off-guard. One Chapo lawyer, José Refugio Rodríguez, said in an interview with Mexican TV journalist Carlos Loret de Mola that the timing of the extradition was “totally political.”

Prominent Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope called the extradition the “end of an era,” and said he believed the timing of the transfer—on the eve of Trump’s inauguration—was meant to “not give Trump an early victory with Chapo’s extradition.”

Many international news outlets speculated as much, with some claiming the extradition was meant as a gesture of goodwill for the outgoing Obama administration. Others speculated it would serve as an olive branch for incoming President Donald Trump, whose election has crippled the Mexican peso and created much uncertainty for the Mexican economy.

In January of last year, Mexico’s then-attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, claimed the drug kingpin would not ever set foot on U.S. soil. “El Chapo has to stay [in Mexico] to complete his sentence and then I’ll extradite him, in about 300 or 400 years,” Karam said at the time. “It will be a while.”

The transfer of custody this week has proved him wrong.

Most are celebrating the extradition as good news, as Mexico has thrice proven incapable of containing the cartel boss, who has become infamous for his elaborate escapes from federal custody.

Exactly 16 years before his extradition—on Jan. 19, 2001—Guzmán had his first jailbreak, escaping from the Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, allegedly by hiding in a laundry cart.

He had been sentenced to serve two decades in Mexican prison, following his arrest in Guatemala in 1993, which came just weeks after he gained notoriety for skirting a failed assassination attempt by Tijuana’s Arellano Felix cartel, which left Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo dead at the Guadalajara airport—in what was apparently a case of mistaken identity.

Following his first escape from prison, Guzmán became Mexico’s most wanted man as well as one of the most sought criminals in the U.S

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced a $5 million reward in 2004 for information leading to the arrest of El Chapo, noting that he was wanted for vast criminal conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine in Southern California, after finding sophisticated ways to thwart the U.S. border in Baja California, smuggling drugs through underground tunnels or disguised as other goods.

After years on the run, he was almost captured by Mexican authorities in 2012 in Los Cabos, just one day after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with prominent Mexican officials in the popular resort town.

After an intense manhunt, El Chapo was arrested in Mazatlan in 2014 once more. But the following year, Guzmán managed to escape yet again from the Altiplano maximum-security prison in Mexico State. The government was forced to tell the country that Mexico’s most wanted criminal was once again fugitive, after escaping from his cell through a mile-long tunnel leading out from the drain in his shower.

The embarrassment led to more than a dozen arrests among prison staff, and sparked yet another manhunt. But as the Mexican government threw resources and manpower toward capturing El Chapo, he seemed to always be just one step ahead, evading recapture on multiple occasions, until the search culminated in a shootout between cartel operatives and the Mexican navy in January of last year.

He was arrested for what will likely be the final time in Los Mochis, in his home state of Sinaloa, just months after embarrassing the Mexican government once more, by infamously meeting with Sean Penn and Mexican narco-drama actress Kate del Castillo while a fugitive—in an encounter that Sean Penn floridly recounted for Rolling Stone magazine.

That careless meeting with Penn and the beautiful actress is believed to have been his final downfall.

His arrest led to an about-face for U.S. authorities, who were forced to admit that at least one weapon found among the cache in El Chapo’s safehouse had made it there via the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ failed program known as Operation Fast and Furious. The semi-automatic sniper rifle, capable of shooting down a helicopter, was linked directly back to the gun-running operation mishandled by the ATF’s Phoenix division. Many other weapons linked to the disastrous operation have resurfaced in the hands of the Sinaloa cartel, but this was the first known to have made it all the way to the top of the hierarchy.

The Sinaloa cartel, today, dominates northwestern Mexico and the U.S. drug market, with the highest presence in the U.S. of any other Mexican drug trade organization, according to the DEA.

Now, Guzmán will face justice in the U.S., but the significance is largely symbolic, as his arrest does little to cripple the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which continues to operate swiftly on both sides of the border.

But the curious timing of his extradition has left many to speculate what effect this will have on binational relations, which have hit a rough patch following Donald Trump’s multiple controversial campaign speeches critical of Mexico and Mexicans, and promises to build a border wall, and block efforts to bring jobs to Mexico.

Guzmán’s day in Brooklyn federal court this Friday is set to steal a bit of the spotlight from the inauguration today of almost-President Donald Trump, who once tweeted of El Chapo that he “would kick his ass,” after reports that the Sinaloa cartel boss had tweeted that Trump is a racist and a misogynist.

Almost unbelievably, Trump has not yet tweeted about El Chapo landing in his backyard.