Cyprus is a ‘slave’ to US in teen extradition case.

The zealousness of the attorney general’s office has once again come under question over the speed and efficiency with which it appears to be working towards extraditing a 19-year-old Cypriot to the United States, wanted by the FBI for hacking related activities.

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If it goes ahead, it will be the first time a Cypriot has ever been extradited to the US.

Adding to the questions is that he has already been charged with two hacking offences in Cyprus and that the alleged offences in the US occurred when he was still a minor.

“No Cypriot has been extradited to the US. Ever. And they want to send a 19-year-old who was a minor when he allegedly committed the offences the FBI is investigating,” Pavlos Erotocritou, one of the teen’s defence lawyers told the Sunday Mail.

Joshua Epiphaniou has been held at the central prisons since May last year.

In Cyprus Epiphaniou has been charged with being behind a DDos attack (distributed denial of service) on Cablenet which rendered their telephony and internet services useless for around 12 hours. He is also facing charges in connection with extorting €2,000 from a Limassol company which buys and sells internet traffic. He denies all charges.

After his IP was traced by Cablenet techs who were trying to fix their systems, a slew of other suspect information came to light.

Following his arrest, the FBI said they suspected him of being behind hacking offences allegedly committed between 2014 and 2016. Epiphaniou is believed to have obtained thousands of US dollars from five US firms by accessing their systems and threatening to leak their data if they didn’t pay up.

Some €69,000 in cash was found in his home.

In one instance, US authorities believe he threatened one American company to pay €19,000 which was done in two instalments. In a second case, he apparently asked for €90,000 but managed to get €1,000.

Police found evidence – in the form a screenshot – leading them to believe he may also have obtained 38,000 in bitcoin – which at the time was roughly €400,000.

American authorities have since filed an extradition request to try him under US law.

The 19-year-old’s story is certainly unique. If true, the offences were committed when he was between the ages of 15 and 17. Self-taught in his computer skills and from a poor family, Epiphaniou dropped out of school for a year before graduation as his family couldn’t afford the tuition for his private education.

His Filipina mother, 54, worked at a supermarket. His father, a Cypriot police officer, was largely absent from his son’s life and paid child support only after a court-imposed decision. They could not afford to pay his €70,000 bail after his arrest in May last year. The amount was later dropped to €50,000 and eventually €1,000.

Defence lawyer Erotocritou says this was a deliberate ploy from the prosecution. “They tricked us. As soon as the bail was paid, he left prison and then they arrested him again for the extradition proceeding,” he told the Sunday Mail.

Even though the teen was held in prison, the warrant had to be executed to initiate the extradition hearing, Erotocritou specified. “If we knew, we wouldn’t have paid the bail.”

Why the justice ministry and attorney general’s office allowed the extradition process to begin is a question that remains unanswered from both parties.“They could have refused from the onset,” Erotocritou said.

The justice ministry confirmed to the Sunday Mail that while a cooperation between US and Cypriot authorities is in place to date, no Cypriot has been extradited to the US. Whether this teen will be the first remains to be seen but many questions remain unanswered.

For starters, even the state prosecutor on the case Marina Spiliotopoulou had outlined in court that the case is moving much faster than other cases.Additionally, what cannot be ignored is the fact that Epiphaniou was a minor when the offences the FBI is investigating allegedly took place.

“He is being tried in Cyprus for two cases. He should be tried for all offences (including the American ones) here,” Erotocritou said.For one, Epiphaniou could face up to 20-years in jail if found guilty in the United States – a far cry from up to five years in Cyprus.

Though he is showing clear signs of depression in jail, this will only get worse if he is extradited, his defence believes.

“It’s not the court’s fault. I believe the justice ministry and attorney general’s office have the responsibility to tell the Americans the case should be tried in Cyprus.”

Erotocritou cited the case of British hacker Lauri Love, where the court of appeal decided he would not be extradited to the US to face trial for hacking into computer systems including Nasa, the Federal Reserve and the US army.“The countries look after their own nationals,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be slaves to the Americans or the Russians. Whose justice do you want to serve?”According to Erotocritou however, the interest of the state is “to serve the interests of the Americans”.

A few months ago, leaked emails of senior state attorney Eleni Loizidou appeared to show she went above her call of duty when pursuing extradition requests from the Russian government against Russian nationals.

The emails revealed Loizidou would, for instance, offer to intervene in cases to buy Russians more time to produce documents or advise them on how to proceed so as to get favourable rulings from Cypriot courts.

“At least they were Russians being extradited to Russia. This is a Cypriot,” Erotocritou outlined.

Loizidou has since been suspended, while several journalists have been hauled in for questioning and daily Politis which broke the story was served an injunction barring it from publishing contents of the leaked emails.

Epiphaniou’s defence team is also arguing that the offences, if true, were committed from the 19-year-old’s room. He never left the country.The prosecution argues that they were American companies and thus the alleged offences should be treated as if they were committed on US soil. The nature of these offences do not require one to be physically present.

The two sides also do not see eye to eye on whether the offences are of similar nature.

Erotocritou argues that the offences in both the American and domestic cases are of similar nature and therefore all should be tried in Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the view from the other side is that it appears they are not.

More crucially, according to Erotocritou, accusations pertaining to the fact that the hacker was a minor when the offences were allegedly committed, are answered with vague answers outlining “these are internal matters”, and that there are “bilateral treaties with mutual obligations”.

The justice ministry would only confirm that no Cypriot had been extradited to the US and there was an ongoing case against the 19-year-old. Requests for comment from the Sunday Mail on why the case had been approved to go to court for an extradition remained unanswered.

Even Lycourgos Kyprianou, a businessman wanted for financial fraud that cost shareholders of American IT firm AremisSoft over $500,000, was never extradited.

As the chairman of the company, listed on the American stock exchange Nasdaq, Kyprianou was indicted in 2002 by the US on criminal charges including securities fraud and money laundering.

Although he was in Cyprus, he was never extradited even though a treaty on extraditing fugitives had come into effect in 1999.

A Reuters report on the case in 2007 quoted a US embassy spokesman in Nicosia as saying a request for extradition had not been filed – although sources now suggest that may have been the result of behind the scenes discussions where Cyprus may have made it clear they would not proceed with an extradition and not even allow it to proceed to court.

“It is a shame to want to send a 19-year-old to the US to be tried for offences he allegedly committed from his room in Cyprus,” Erotocritou said.

“There has never been a case like this in Cyprus.”

Diplomat vows Moscow won’t turn blind eye to arrest of Russians at US request

A Russian diplomat says the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance openly neglected by the American side
 

 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

HELSINKI, September 12. /TASS/. Russia will not remain indifferent to the abductions and arrests of Russian citizens in third countries at the request of the United States, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday following two-day consultations with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

"We just cannot remain indifferent to the de facto abductions of Russian citizens, to their continuing arrests in third countries under US warrants," he said.

"There are mechanisms for bilateral cooperation, the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance openly neglected by the Americans. There is the bilateral consular convention. There is an understanding of how and when to notify the Russian side in such situations. Unfortunately, all that remains a theory and is not used by the Americans on the practical level as a tool, which should be used, if they have questions to our citizens," the high-ranking diplomat stated.

"We used the possibility to analyze what happened, point by point, in a most thorough manner and show Americans the absolute unlawfulness of their actions, as well as demonstrate with specific examples the groundlessness of their accusations against us and attempts to actually pass the buck regarding the chain of events that have to be addressed and that we all witnessed," Ryabkov said.

Over 10 Russians arrested abroad at US requests in 2017

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Over 10 Russian citizens were arrested abroad at US requests in 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on its website on Thursday.

 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

"Despite our appeals to establish cooperation between relevant authorities in Russia and the US based on the bilateral US-Russian Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty of 1999, American intelligence agencies continue a true ‘hunt’ for Russians across the world. The number of such cases already reached four dozens," the ministry stated. "Over 10 Russians were arrested abroad at Washington’s requests in 2017."

It even goes as far as abducting Russians, the ministry noted. "This is the way it happened with Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was abducted in 2010 in Liberia and secretly - in violation of this country’s national legislation and international law - taken to the US, as well as with Roman Seleznev, whom American agents literally stole from the Maldives in July 2014 and forcibly took to the American territory," the Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated.

Moscow stressed that "after extradition to the US, Russian citizens face discrimination of the American "justice." "There are attempts through various methods, including direct threats, to make them plead guilty, despite the farfetchedness of many accusations, and they are given long jail terms if they refuse. This is what happened to mentioned Konstantin Yaroshenko and Russian businessman Viktor Bout," the ministry noted.

The ministry said that "Russian diplomatic missions abroad have always provided comprehensive consular and legal help to Russians in distress and will continue to provide it, striving for observance of their lawful rights and interests, as well as the speediest return to their Motherland." "However, regarding the mentioned circumstances, we strongly recommend Russian citizens to assess all risks, especially if there are grounds to expect claims from American law enforcement authorities," the ministry stressed.

Moscow Warns Citizens Traveling Abroad: U.S. ‘Hunting’ for Russians to Arrest

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Thursday warning its citizens to be careful if they travel abroad because the United States is “hunting” for Russians to arrest.

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The Foreign Ministry warned Russians of the “threat of being detained or arrested at the request of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services in third countries.”

“Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant U.S. and Russian authorities … U.S. special services have effectively continued ‘a hunt’ for Russians around the world,” the statement asserted. “Considering these circumstances, we strongly insist that Russian citizens carefully weigh up all the risks when planning trips abroad.”

In other words, the Foreign Ministry is telling Russian citizens they might be arrested by third countries and extradited to the United States.

The UK Independent notes that the great Russian hunt carried out by the predatory U.S. government consists of arresting seven Russians in 2017 instead of the normal average of two per year, and the Russian Foreign Ministry itself admits that most of them were accused cyber-criminals.

Moscow does not make much of a case that any of these people were arrested randomly or unjustly. For example, one of the Russians arrested early in 2017 was Stanislav Lisov, who is charged with creating a trojan-horse virus that inflicted an estimated $5 million in damage on financial institutions across the world. Lisov was under investigation for the better part of three years before he was arrested by Spain and held for eleven months before his extradition to the U.S. was finally approved. That is difficult to square with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s alarmist portrait of American agents randomly scooping up innocent Russian travelers and hauling them back to Washington for show trials.

Moscow also complained about what it portrayed as the American kidnapping of Roman Seleznev from the Maldives in 2014. Under investigation since 2011 for his activities as a hacker-for-hire, Seleznev was frolicking in the Maldives precisely because the Russian cybercrime underground was convinced Western law enforcement could not touch them there.

The Maldives made a deal with the U.S. to arrest and extradite Seleznev, by all accounts moving swiftly but not extra-legally, and he came bundled with a laptop containing 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers. He was convicted on over 30 counts by a Seattle court in 2016 and sentenced to 27 years in federal prison, with a few more state cases against him pending. Again, this was not a random kidnapping hastily arranged because irritable American officials were eager to throw a few Russian tourists in jail.

The Foreign Ministry sneered that “Russian citizens face a prejudiced attitude on the part of American ‘justice,’” but the example they chose was Viktor Bout, the nefarious arms dealer who was the inspiration for the Nicolas Cage film Lord of War.

Bout was at one point the second most-wanted man in the world for U.S. intelligence services, the first being Osama bin Laden. He was busted in Thailand in a sting operation where he thought he was selling millions of dollars in weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, to the FARC terrorists of South America. He was arrested in 2008 and given a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence by a U.S. court in 2012. There isn’t much doubt that he ran a huge volume of guns to terrorists and criminal organizations, especially since the cocky smuggling kingpin had a penchant for making home movies of himself doing it.

Russia has been grumbling that the sentence was excessive ever since it was handed down, but Bout is an odd choice for an argument that American justice moves too swiftly and is irrationally biased against Russians.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement is a political tantrum, and it’s not hard to see why. The statement warns that Russians in U.S. custody are “pressured to admit their guilt, despite the fictitiousness of the charges, and when they refuse they are given huge prison sentences.”

In addition to warning Russian travelers that Uncle Sam is waiting to pounce on them when they travel to foreign countries, the Foreign Ministry complained on Friday about U.S. accusations that Russia has been interfering in foreign elections, most recently Mexico’s 2018 presidential race. Moscow seems interested in laying the groundwork to deny what it fears Russians in U.S. custody might say about certain matters of international interest.

Russia says U.S. 'hunting' for Russians to arrest around the world

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has issued a travel warning recommending its citizens think twice before traveling abroad, saying the United States was hunting for Russians to arrest around the world.

 Passengers check the departure board at the Domodedovo Airport outside Moscow, Russia September 28, 2017. 

Passengers check the departure board at the Domodedovo Airport outside Moscow, Russia September 28, 2017. 

The Foreign Ministry statement warns Russian citizens that when abroad they face a serious threat of arrest by other countries at Washington’s request, after which they could be extradited to the United States.

“Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant U.S. and Russian authorities ... U.S. special services have effectively continued ”hunting“ for Russians around the world,” the travel warning said.

By way of example, it pointed to at least four Russians arrested on U.S. cyber crime charges in Spain, Latvia and Greece. U.S. action against suspected Russian cyber criminals surged to a record high last year.

Seven Russians were arrested or indicted in 2017 in the United States and abroad, compared to an average of two a year in the preceding six years.

The ministry pointed to the case of Stanislav Lisov, accused of creating a computer virus that targeted customers of financial institutions, causing millions of dollars of damage, who was extradited from Spain to the United States last year.

It mentioned earlier cases as well, including the detention of Roman Seleznev for cyber crime in the Maldives in 2014, which it described as a kidnapping by American agents.

The statement, published on Thursday, also warns Russian citizens that upon extradition they will face biased treatment at the hands of the U.S. justice system.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment.

 

Russia warns citizens to rethink foreign travel because US 'hunting' for Russians to arrest around world

Moscow's foreign ministry issues statement calling American justice system 'biased'

 Russian leader Vladimir Putin (left) meeting US president Donald Trump Reuters

Russian leader Vladimir Putin (left) meeting US president Donald Trump Reuters

Russia has warned its citizens to rethink travelling abroad because, it claims, the US is “hunting” for Russians to arrest around the world.  

The travel warning, which was issued by Moscow’s foreign ministry, cautioned Russians face a serious threat of arrest by other countries at Washington’s request, after which they could be extradited to America. 

“Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant US and Russian authorities... US special services have effectively continued hunting for Russians around the world,” the statement said.

“Considering these circumstances, we strongly insist that Russian citizens carefully weigh up all the risks when planning trips abroad.”

It claimed more than 10 Russians had been detained in foreign countries with US involvement since the start of 2017.

It pointed to at least four Russians arrested on US cybercrime charges in Spain, Latvia and Greece. US action against suspected Russian cyber criminals surged to a record high last year.

Seven Russians were arrested or indicted in 2017 in America and abroad, compared to an average of two a year in the preceding six years.

The ministry pointed to the case of Stanislav Lisov, accused of creating a computer virus that targeted customers of financial institutions, causing millions of dollars of damage, who was extradited from Spain to the US last year.

It mentioned earlier cases as well, including the detention of Roman Seleznev for cybercrime in the Maldives in 2014, which it described as a kidnapping by American agents. Seleznev, who is the son of a Russian politician, was later convicted of hacking by a Seattle court.

The statement, published on Thursday, also warns Russian citizens that upon extradition they will face biased treatment at the hands of the US justice system.

The US State Department declined to comment on the Russian travel advisory. But it comes amid a number of American investigations into Russian attempts to influence or impede the 2016 presidential election. 

And while the US has not made an explicit link between its prosecutions of Russian hackers and the election, some of those arrested have said they were being asked by the FBI to confess to hacking the email server of the Democratic National Congress. 

A New Zealand Judge Dismisses Almost All of Kim Dotcom's Appeals Against Extradition

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom’s attempt to contest an extradition order to the United States hit a snag Friday, after a a New Zealand judge rejected seven of his eight grounds for appeal.

  Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in court after his hearing was moved from the North Shore District Court on September 21, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in court after his hearing was moved from the North Shore District Court on September 21, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, is challenging a decision by New Zealand’s high court, which in February granted the U.S. the right to extradite him over alleged money laundering and copyright infringements related to the now-defunct file sharing site he founded, Megaupload.

But on Friday a high court justice said the only one of Dotcom’s grounds for contesting the order — which include challenging the validity of police arrest warrants and New Zealand court orders — would stand.

That challenge — which the U.S. has not contested — relates to authorities in New Zealand making clones of electronic devices in his home and then sending them to the U.S.

Dotocom, an early internet millionaire, is notorious for his lavish lifestyle and political activism. He has been fighting extradition to the U.S. since 2012, according to the Herald.

Two Romanians arrested for hacking D.C. surveillance cameras before Trump inauguration

Two Romanian nationals were arrested trying to leave the country for allegedly taking over Washington D.C. surveillance cameras right before President Trump’s inauguration.

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Mihai Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru were arrested earlier this month in Bucharest and now await extradition to the U.S. on charges of wire fraud and attacking protected computers, according to court filings from the Department of Justice.

The pair is accused of taking control of approximately 123 computers that control cameras in the nation’s capital for four days starting January 9 and used them to send ransomware emails.

An affidavit says that an administrator for Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police discovered the intrusion on January 12, with signs that the malware “Cerber” and “Dharma” were being sent to a list of 179,000 email addresses contained in a text file.

Investigators said evidence on the computers led to several email addresses including one that is the Romanian translation of “selling souls” and one for Cismaru with the exact same text file full of email accounts.

It is unclear if any of the “phishing” emails trying to get victims to open infected material were successful, though both an email for Cismaru and an email for Isvanca were also seen transferring information about thousands of credit cards.

After being traced through IP addresses, prosecutors say both Isvanca and Cismaru are on house arrest in Romania.

The complaint does not say why the alleged hackers targeted the Washington D.C. camera system rather than other potential victims, though the use of ransomware suggests money was the motivation rather than access to the cameras.

Officials in the capital and Secret Service acknowledged the breach back in January, though said it was never a threat to public safety.

The hack also reportedly did not extend to the city’s computer system at large, and Washington’s Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli said the cameras were fixed by removing all software from them.

Kentucky fugitive Eric Conn extradited back to US after being arrested at Pizza Hut in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) - A lawyer who spent six months on the run after pleading guilty in a $500 million Social Security fraud scheme was flown back to Kentucky Tuesday after he was caught outside a Pizza Hut in Honduras.

 Eric Conn

Eric Conn

Eric Conn was handed over to the FBI after his capture by a SWAT team as he left the restaurant in the coastal city of La Ceiba. Spokesman Jorge Galindo of the country's Technical Agency of Criminal Investigation said they left Honduras on a private plane. Conn landed in Lexington around 7:30 p.m. and was placed in custody by FBI agents immediately after walking off the plane.

"As promised, Mr. Conn will now be held accountable for his actions, the people he deceived and the lives he shattered, including all the victims of his greed in eastern Kentucky," said Amy Hess, special agent in charge of the Louisville field office for the FBI.

Conn speaks multiple languages, had crossed the border 140 times over 10 years and had told at least six people he would flee the country rather than go to prison for his crimes. Yet a federal judge released Conn on $1.25 million bail, and allowed him to remain free even after he pleaded guilty in March to stealing from the federal government and bribing a judge to fix Social Security fraud cases.

Conn fled on June 2. He cut off his electronic ankle monitor and put it inside a metallic pouch designed to suppress electronic signals, authorities said. While nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies searched for the fugitive, he was sentenced in absentia last summer to a 12-year prison term -- the maximum possible.

Now 57 according to his FBI wanted poster, Conn faces many more years in prison if convicted of charges related to his escape.

Authorities interviewed dozens of people, analyzed his bank accounts, and meticulously read through emails and social media posts purported to be from Conn. They searched his former law office and his mother's house in Stanville, Kentucky. The hunt led searchers to a Walmart parking lot in New Mexico over the summer and, finally, to the Pizza Hut in Honduras on Saturday.

Ultimately, the Honduras public magistrate's office said his arrest was "the product of arduous intelligence, surveillance and tailing by the agents."

Conn, wearing a blue polo shirt with close-cropped, reddish-gray hair, was led away in handcuffs by Honduran police agents with ballistic vests and assault rifles, and then turned over to the FBI, which flew him home in a private plane.

Conn's capture was cheered by his former clients and their families, who have struggled to make ends meet while fighting to keep their Social Security disability checks.

"That's wonderful," said Donna Dye, whose husband was among Conn's clients in Appalachia. "I never thought they would catch him. He let people like my husband have trust in him, and he let that down."

Federal authorities claim Conn had help in escaping.

An indictment unsealed in October alleged that one of his employees opened a bank account Conn used to transfer money, tested security at the Mexican border and bought a pickup truck for use in Conn's escape. The employee, Curtis Lee Wyatt, has pleaded not guilty to aiding in Conn's escape and abetting his failure to appear.

The same indictment claims Conn hatched his escape plot around June 2016, two months after he was first indicted and a year before his disappearance.

Conn, who started his law practice in a trailer in 1993, had portrayed himself as "Mr. Social Security." He fueled that persona with outlandish TV commercials and small-scale replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial at his office in eastern Kentucky.

Conn represented thousands in successful claims for Social Security benefits. But his empire crumbled when authorities discovered he had been bribing a doctor and judge to approve disability claims based on fake medical evidence.

Among his former clients in the impoverished coalfields of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are many people with legitimate disabilities.

Donna Dye's husband, Timothy, was among the throngs of Conn's clients who had to fight to keep their disability checks. Timothy Dye went on disability for chronic arthritis after working decades in coal mines.

"I have gone through hell," she said by phone Tuesday. "My husband's gone through hell. It's just been nothing but pain and struggle and worries. Just pure pressure."

Ned Pillersdorf, an eastern Kentucky attorney representing hundreds of Conn's former clients, said Conn caused a "true humanitarian crisis."

"With his capture, I'm hoping we can get this ordeal behind us, put him in prison where he belongs and start to undo the damage he has done to his former clients," Pillersdorf said by phone Monday night.

As part of the fallout, the Social Security Administration identified about 1,500 beneficiaries, mostly in eastern Kentucky, who were made to undergo hearings. Pillersdorf said those hearings are nearly complete, and about 700 have been found eligible to maintain the benefits.

Russia Issues Travel Warning to Its Citizens About United States and Extradition

MOSCOW — Countries often issue travel advisories warning citizens of danger abroad: war, for instance, or a terrorist threat or an outbreak of disease. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted advice of a somewhat different nature on Monday, cautioning people wanted by the United States not to visit nations that have an extradition treaty with it.

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“Warning for Russian citizens traveling internationally,” the Foreign Ministry bulletin said. “Recently, detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent — with the goal of extradition and legal prosecution in the United States.”

Citing examples in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Lithuania and Spain, the Foreign Ministry said, “Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the U.S. are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction.”

Extradition has frequently been a contentious issue between Russia and the United States, but the disagreements have been particularly sharp in recent months over the case of Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who is wanted on criminal espionage charges but has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

In response to the demands by the Obama administration for Mr. Snowden’s return, Russian officials have said the United States has routinely ignored extradition requests from Russia. Russia has also complained about the arrests of Russian citizens by the United States or by other countries at the Americans’ request.

In late July, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, criticized the arrest in the Dominican Republic of Aleksandr Panin, a Russian citizen wanted by the United States on charges related to cybercrimes.

Ms. Zakharova said Russia considered such arrests “a vicious trend, absolutely unacceptable and inadmissible.” She said the Russian government demanded that the United States request the arrest of Russian citizens directly from Moscow, under a 1999 treaty on assistance in criminal matters.

There is no formal extradition treaty between Russia and the United States. Russian officials cited the lack of such an agreement as a main reason they could not forcibly return Mr. Snowden from the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, where he lived for more than a month until his temporary asylum request was approved.

Russia has often accused the United States of overstepping and potentially violating international law in its treatment of Russian citizens accused of crimes. It bridled over the handling of Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and was extradited to the United States, convicted in federal court and jailed in a federal prison.

The United States has said that Mr. Bout’s arrest and extradition by the Thai government were legal, and that other cases have also been handled in accordance with international law.

Besides the case of Mr. Panin, the Foreign Ministry’s travel advisory mentioned Maksim Chukharayev, who was arrested in Costa Rica in May in an investigation into a huge money-laundering operation, and Dmitry Ustinov, arrested in April in Lithuania and accused of smuggling American-made night-vision goggles to Russia for resale.

The Foreign Ministry said Russian citizens could not expect to be treated fairly in the American justice system. “Russian embassies and consulates general logically give consular and legal help to Russians in trouble,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“However,” it added, “one should not count on a successful outcome in such cases.”

Correction: September 16, 2013

An article on Sept. 3 about a Russian Foreign Ministry advisory warning Russians wanted by the United States not to visit countries with which the United States has an extradition treaty misidentified, in some editions, one such country, where a Russian, Dmitry Ustinov, was arrested in April and accused of smuggling American-made night-vision goggles to Russia for resale. It is Lithuania, not Latvia.

Chinese police repatriate US fugitive

SHANGHAI, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have repatriated an American fugitive to the United States, Shanghai Public Security Department announced Tuesday.

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Chinese police handed the fugitive over to U.S. law enforcement Tuesday at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The male fugitive, involved in car theft in the United States, had fled to Shanghai where he has been working as an English teacher since November 2009. He is not known to have committed an unlawful act during his time in Shanghai, according to police.

The repatriation was demanded by U.S. law enforcement authorities and was the latest result of Sino-U.S. cooperation in chasing fugitives and illicit money since the countries' first law enforcement and cybersecurity dialogue in October.

Chinese police played their part by locating and capturing the fugitive after receiving a notice from the United States in August.

China has repatriated four U.S fugitives, and U.S. law enforcement has handed over two fugitives to China this year.

Greece Backs Extradition Of Russian To U.S. Over Bitcoin Fraud

A Greek tribunal has approved a U.S. request for the extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect, the second such order made against a Russian citizen by a European court this week.

   Aleksandr Vinnik is escorted by police officers while leaving a court in Thessaloniki on September 29.

Aleksandr Vinnik is escorted by police officers while leaving a court in Thessaloniki on September 29.

A Greek tribunal has approved a U.S. request for the extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect, the second such order made against a Russian citizen by a European court this week.

Both Moscow and Washington had been fighting over the extradition of Aleksandr Vinnik and other Russian citizens who have been caught up in a U.S. law enforcement dragnet targeting alleged cybercriminals around the world.

Russia has complained repeatedly about the detention of Russian citizens while traveling abroad, accusing U.S. officials of "kidnapping" them.

A three-judge court in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki ruled on October 4 that Vinnik, 37, should be sent to the United States, where authorities accuse him of running a multibillion-dollar digital money-laundering network.

Vinnik, who has denied the charges, was arrested while on vacation in Greece in July.Russia, which also requested Vinnik's extradition, reacted quickly to the Greek decision.

"We are categorically against the extradition of our nationals to foreign countries, in this case to the U.S.," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

Vinnik's lawyers were cited as saying he would not contest the Russian request, which will also be heard by a Greek court.

Other Arrests

A day earlier, a court in Spain authorized the extradition of Pyotr Levashov, who is accused by U.S. authorities of running a massive computer bot that sent tens of millions of spam e-mails over many years.

Levashov, 37, was arrested by Spanish police in Barcelona in April while he was vacationing with his family.

Russian news reports said Levashov's lawyers had three days to appeal the court decision.

Other Russians have been caught up in legal proceedings in European courts including Yevgeniy Nikulin, who is awaiting a decision by Czech justice officials on whether he will be sent to the United States or Russia to stand trial on similar computer-hacking charges.

Another Russian, Roman Seleznev, pleaded guilty earlier this month in U.S. court for participating in what U.S. authorities said was a cybertheft ring that allegedly stole over $50 million using hacked credit-card information. Seleznev was arrested in 2014 by U.S. agents as he tried to enter the Maldives on vacation.

The aggressive U.S. pursuit of hackers and alleged cybercriminals from Russia and elsewhere dates back several years.

Some of the hackers have been tied by U.S. intelligence to more politically motivated cybercrimes, possibly done at the behest of the Russian security agencies, such as the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Seleznev at one point bragged about his "protection" by the FSB's main cybercrime division, according to U.S. law enforcement documents filed in federal court.

Phillip Harkins loses record-breaking 14-year battle against extradition to US for murder

'I really don't understand how he was ever allowed to file that many appeals', says victim's mother Patricia Gallagher

  Harkins has been fighting against his transfer to America to face the charge since 2003 Handout

Harkins has been fighting against his transfer to America to face the charge since 2003 Handout

A British man who is wanted for murder in the US, has lost his 14-year-long legal battle against extradition. Phillip Harkins, 38, has been fighting against a transfer to America to face the charge since 2003.

It is thought to have been Britain's longest-running extradition case.

But the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected his final appeal, saying his rights would not be breached if he was jailed without parole in Florida.

Mr Harkins, who is originally from Grenock in Inverclyde, was charged with the murder of 22-year-old Joshua Hayes, who was shot and killed during a drugs-related robbery in 1999. He denies being involved in the killing.

Released on bail in 2002, he returned to Scotland. But he was subsequently jailed for dangerous driving after killing a 62-year-old woman in a car crash in his hometown. 

US authorities then sought his extradition for the 1999 murder of Mr Hayes, beginning a lengthy legal battle which has twice been through the British courts and up to European Court. 

Responding to the judgement, Mr Hayes's mother Patricia Gallagher told BBC News: “I really don't understand how he was ever allowed to file that many appeals. That's way too many and he said he's a victim, and he's not.“

She said her son's death had been “real rough” on her grandchildren, who had been brought up without a father. “My Josh has two grandchildren that will never get to know him,” she said. “We keep Josh very much alive here. He'll always be carried in my heart and my head.”

Prior to the ruling, US prosecutors assured UK authorities they will not seek the death penalty for Harkins were he convicted, But his lawyers argued that life imprisonment without the possibility of parole was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Strasbourg court previously ruled against Harkins, but he was allowed to make a second appeal in 2015. The Grand Chamber of the court said the course should not be opened again, meaning US authorities are free to go ahead with the transfer.

Ban Ki-sang: United States asks South Korea to arrest former UN chief Ban Ki-moon's brother

The US Government has asked South Korea to arrest a brother of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on charges that he engaged in a bribery scheme to carry out the sale of a Vietnamese building complex.

 Ban Ki-moon's (pictured) brother has been charged in the US.

Ban Ki-moon's (pictured) brother has been charged in the US.

During a court hearing in federal court in Manhattan, Assistant US Attorney Daniel Noble said a request had been made for the arrest of Ban Ki-sang, who was an executive at South Korean construction firm Keangnam Enterprises.

Mr Noble said the United States plans to seek his extradition, "but as of yet, he has not been apprehended."

Ban Ki-sang, who could not be reached for comment, was one of four people charged on January 10 in a case that has complicated his brother's expected run for president of South Korea following his recently-finished term at the UN.

The case has already resulted in the arrest of another of his relatives, Joo Hyun "Dennis" Bahn, a real estate broker living in New Jersey — he is Ban Ki-sang's son.

Ban Ki-moon issued an apology saying he hoped any cooperation between authorities in South Korea and the United States would be "strict and transparent".

"I have absolutely no knowledge of this case," Mr Ban said in a statement, adding he hoped authorities were able to clear up all suspicion among the South Korean public.

According to an indictment, amid a liquidity crisis at Keangnam, Ban Ki-sang arranged for it to hire his son to broker a refinancing on the Landmark 72 building complex in Hanoi, which cost more than $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) to construct.

Men accused of securing deals through 'connections'

The indictment said that in March 2013, Bahn through an acquaintance met Malcolm Harris, a self-described arts and fashion consultant and blogger who has also been charged in the case.

Prosecutors said Harris told Bahn he could help get a deal through his connections, which he said included members of a Middle Eastern royal family, and offered to arrange the Landmark 72's sale to a sovereign wealth fund by bribing an official.

In April 2014, Bahn and Ban Ki-sang agreed to pay an upfront $660,000 bribe and another $2.6 million upon the sale's closing to the official, prosecutors said.

However, prosecutors said Harris did not have any connection to the official, and after the men sent $660,000 to his company — Muse Creative Consulting LLC — to pay bribes as a middle man, he stole the funds.

He spent the money on airfares, hotels, lavish meals, furniture, rent for a Manhattan apartment and a six-month lease for a penthouse in the fashionable Brooklyn neighbourhood of Williamsburg, the indictment said.

Both Bahn, 38, and Harris, 52, have pleaded not guilty.

Reuters

US charges Tajeddine with violating terror-related sanctions

WASHINGTON: U.S. authorities arrested an alleged Hezbollah financier Friday on charges of violating U.S. terror-related sanctions, after he was apparently deported to the United States from Morocco.

Kassem Tajeddine was formally charged in U.S. federal court in Washington nearly eight years after the United States named him a "specially designated global terrorist" for allegedly proving tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah.

He was charged with multiple counts of violating U.S. terrorism sanctions regulations as well as money laundering.

  Kassim Tajideen.  (Social Media)

Kassim Tajideen. (Social Media)

According to multiple media reports, Tajeddine was arrested on arrival in Casablanca on March 12 on a request by U.S. authorities.

He arrived in the United States early Friday, but the Justice Department would not confirm that he had been handed over to the United States by Morocco.

Tajeddine , 62, pleaded innocent to the charges, according to a Justice Department statement.

A commodities trader across the Middle East and Africa, Tajeddine was given the terror finance designation in May 2009, which carries sanctions that largely locked him out of global financial networks. The designation named him an "important financial contributor" to Hezbollah.

"Because of his support for Hezbollah ... the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Kassem Tajeddine in 2009 that barred him from doing business with U.S. individuals and companies," Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement.

But the charges unveiled Friday did not accuse him of any recent provision of financial support to Hezbollah.

Instead, he was accused of restructuring his business organization after the 2009 designation in order to evade the sanctions and continue doing business with U.S. companies.

That included buying commodities from U.S. exporters and making wire transfers payments for them worth a total of $27 million.

The U.S. firms involved in those transactions were unaware they were involved with him, the charges said.

Writing about Tajeddine Thursday, Hanin Ghaddar and Sarah Feuer of the Washington Institute think tank said Tajeddine remained an important backer of Hezbollah.

"In addition to the revenues he secured for Hezbollah, his company Tajco has been involved in a number of residential projects located in strategic areas of Lebanon," they said.

Ghaddar and Feuer said that although Morocco would not confirm that Washington had asked for his arrest, "such cooperation would be in keeping with Morocco's emergence as a key counter-terrorism partner in recent years."

Kosovo man wanted by FBI may face extradition after accord with U.S

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo signed an extradition agreement with Washington on Tuesday, clearing the way for a man suspected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of being an Islamist militant to be sent to the United States.

Kosovo officials told Reuters that the first person who may be extradited is Bajram Asllani, who is listed on the FBI web site as a wanted person who “should be considered armed and dangerous”.

  Bajram Asllani, 30, wanted by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to engage in violent jihad, stands in front of his house in Mitrovica in this November 19, 2010  file photo. REUTERS/Hazir Reka

Bajram Asllani, 30, wanted by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to engage in violent jihad, stands in front of his house in Mitrovica in this November 19, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Hazir Reka

In recent years Asllani, 35, has lived openly in the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica. He is also on the Interpol wanted list.

“Until now, despite very close cooperation with the U.S. authorities in the field of security, the absence of this extradition agreement was a legal obstacle for a successful conclusion of cases,” Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga said after signing the treaty with U.S. ambassador Greg Delawie.

In 2010, U.S. prosecutors in North Carolina unsealed a criminal complaint against Asllani, accusing him of providing material support to terrorism suspects and conspiring to kill and hurt people abroad.

He was accused of having ties and soliciting money from a group of men in North Carolina who were arrested in 2009 for an alleged plot to attack a U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, according to U.S. prosecutors. Several of these defendants were later convicted of various charges.

The FBI web site said Asllani was an alleged co-conspirator with eight people in the United States “who were allegedly co-conspiring to engage in violent jihad, or holy war, and to raise money for mujihadeen, or warriors engaged in violent jihad.”

Asllani denies the charges.

European Union security officials, who maintain a presence in Kosovo, arrested Asllani in 2010, saying they would consider extraditing him to the United States, but he was soon released.

A panel of three European judges serving in Kosovo turned down a U.S. request to extradite him in 2010, saying there was no accord with the United States governing the extradition of Kosovo citizens and that Washington had failed to provide enough evidence.

“I personally have asked to be extradited to the United States because I am not afraid of U.S. justice, I believe in justice because I am innocent,” Asllani told local media at the time.

A Kosovo police official said that, apart from Asllani, three more Kosovars were wanted by U.S. authorities.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognized by over 100 states, including the United States.