IRA veteran Sean Garland escapes extradition to US.

Former Workers' party president wanted over alleged links to 'super dollars' North Korean counterfeiting plot

Sean Garland was arrested in Dublin in 2009 and had been fighting extradition from the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Sean Garland was arrested in Dublin in 2009 and had been fighting extradition from the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Ireland's high court has rejected a request to extradite a senior IRA veteran to the US over alleged links to a North Korean counterfeiting plot.

Sean Garland, a former Workers' party president, has been fighting extradition from the Republic of Ireland since his arrest in Dublin in 2009.

US authorities wanted to try the 76-year-old for his alleged role in the worldwide conspiracy involving so-called "super dollars" that the FBI among other security agencies alleged was linked to the regime in North Korea.

In a brief hearing on Wednesday in the Dublin court, Justice John Edwards said the court was not disposed to grant the application and will give its reasons on 13 January. A Workers' party spokesman said Garland was extremely relieved and delighted with today's ruling. The party thanked those who had backed the campaign to stop Garland's extradition.

Last week, English artist and rock musician Nick Reynolds visited Dublin to hand over his sculpted cast of Garland's head.

Reynolds, who has made artworks out of casts of train robber Ronnie Biggs and 19th-century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, made a sculpture out of a cast of Garland's head.

The musician, whose band Alabama 3 played a concert to raise funds for the campaign to stop Garland's extradition, presented Garland with the sculpture when the band launched their album in Dublin.

O'Dwyer lawyers used novel legal arrangement to resolve extradition case

Owen Bowcott examines the legal implications of the O'Dwyer case for the future of extradition arrangements between UK and US

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Lawyers for Richard O'Dwyer used a novel legal arrangement to avoid the undergraduate being forcibly extradited to America where he is wanted on breaching film copyrights.

His barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the high court that the 24-year-old had made a 'Deferred Prosecution Agreement' (DPA) – a mechanism designed to negotiate settlements in economic crimes which the UK is in the process of adopting.

The surprise deal reached between the US prosecuting authorities and O'Dwyer's legal team could potentially be a trailblazing example that may smooth the way to resolving other protracted extradition cases involving financial claims.

In O'Dwyer's case, agreement seems to have allowed plea-bargaining to take place before the painful process of removal from the UK. Since many extradited Britons subsequently negotiate a reduced sentence once they come before a US court, it offers the opportunity to short-circuit years of litigation.

Campaigners against extradition have accused the agreement between the US and UK as being tilted in favour of the States. The home secretary's decision last month to block the removal to America of the alleged computer hacker Gary MacKinnon may have encouraged the Washington authorities to reach an advance deal with O'Dwyer rather than risk a further high profile defeat.

DPAs are increasingly being used in the US. Last month the Ministry of Justice announced that they would be introduced into the UK mainly for use in complex fraud cases.

According to the MoJ, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement is "an agreement between a prosecutor and an organisation where, in return for complying with a range of stringent conditions, the prosecutor would defer a criminal prosecution.

"The process will be scrutinised by an independent judge and the threat of prosecution will remain hanging over an organisation should it fail to comply fully with the agreement."

Announcing last month that DPAs would be available in the UK, the justice minister, Damian Green, said: "Deferred Prosecution Agreements will give prosecutors an effective new tool to tackle what has become an increasingly complex issue. It will ensure that more unacceptable corporate behaviour is dealt with including through substantial penalties, proper reparation to victims, and measures to prevent future wrongdoing."

Referring to the O'Dwyer deal, the Labour MP Keith Vaz, chair iof the Commons Home Affairs select committee, said: "I welcome the agreement which means Richard O'Dwyer will not be extradited to the US.

"However, Richard should not have had to go directly to the US to negotiate. Ministers should use their discretion to prevent extradition in cases which are patently unjust.

"The US extradition treaty was not negotiated on a level playing field and remains unbalanced. As the home affairs committee recommended in March, we need to amend the treaty and introduce an evidence test."

Lauri Love wouldn’t get justice in the US. UK courts must try his hacking case

The 31-year-old Briton accused of hacking into US army and FBI sites faces extradition to the US – but changes in UK law should protect him

Lauri Love arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court in London, September 2016. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Lauri Love arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court in London, September 2016. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

While Donald Trump and the United States intelligence services argue over who hacked whom, it has been almost forgotten that, for a young British citizen, hacking accusations pack a much heavier punch than political point-scoring. Lauri Love, who has Asperger syndrome, is facing extradition to the US and is now awaiting a date for the appeal hearing that will determine the course of the rest of his life.

Amber Rudd orders Lauri Love extradition to US on hacking charges

Love, aged 31, from Suffolk, is accused of hacking into the sites of the US army, Department of Defense, FBI, Nasa, Federal Reserve and others between 2012 and 2013. The US government is seeking his removal to stand trial there. Technically, Love could face 99 years, although the indications are that the authorities would seek a plea bargain and a shorter sentence.

It is just over four years since Theresa May, then home secretary, announced to widespread applause that the US could not extradite Gary McKinnon, who also had Asperger syndrome and who had been accused of hacking into Nasa and Pentagon sites. The Daily Mail – which, like the Guardian, had long argued against this extradition – applauded her stance. And last year, when May ran for prime minister, the paper threw its weight behind her. Janis Sharp, McKinnon’s mother, has also spoken out for Love.

But in the meantime, under the 2013 Crime and Courts Act, parliament has handed the home secretary’s decision-making role on extradition back to the courts. For this reason, the current incumbent, Amber Rudd, has declined to intervene. But the law change means that British courts can now try alleged crimes that, like hacking, have been committed in Britain but have ramifications abroad – and punish them according to our laws, not the laws of another justice system.

The judge who authorised Love’s extradition last year said she accepted that “Mr Love suffers from both physical and mental health issues, but I have found the medical facilities in the United States prison estate … are such that I can be satisfied his needs will be comprehensively met.” Yet the American justice system is one of the most punitive in the world and Love would be regarded within the prison system as someone who had damaged the US: in the increasingly toxic and xenophobic post-Trump climate, he would be an inevitable target.

Karen Todner, Love’s solicitor, who successfully defended McKinnon, has pointed out that May changed the law so that such cases could be tried in Britain. Todner says that if the law “was meant to provide protection to someone such as Gary McKinnon and yet serves no purpose to someone as vulnerable as Mr Love, it has become an empty protection”.

Love’s case has the support of more than 100 MPs, led by the Conservative David Burrowes, McKinnon’s MP, and Labour’s Barry Sheerman. They wrote to Barack Obama last year arguing that the request for extradition should be dropped. Rudd should add her voice, and address it to the incoming president.

Lauri Love is not seeking to avoid justice, but such justice is not currently available in the US. The British courts are perfectly capable of trying a case that involves no acts of violence or extremism. They should now assert their right to do so.

Alleged Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov waives extradition to go straight to U.S. to face prosecution

The 22-year-old Ancaster, Ont., man agreed to forgo extradition in court on Friday, which also meant he was waiving any protections.

Karim Baratov was arrested at his Ancaster home on March 14 after U.S. authorities charged him with aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit fraud, in connection with a hacking scheme allegedly organized by Russian intelligence agents.  (INSTAGRAM)  

Karim Baratov was arrested at his Ancaster home on March 14 after U.S. authorities charged him with aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit fraud, in connection with a hacking scheme allegedly organized by Russian intelligence agents.  (INSTAGRAM)  

HAMILTON—Accused Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov is waiving his Canadian rights, forgoing extradition, to go straight to the United States to face prosecution.

During a brief court appearance in Hamilton Friday morning the 22-year-old Ancaster, Ont., man agreed to the waiver, which Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman cautioned meant he’s also waiving any protections.

Baratov agreed, signing three copies of the waiver in front of the judge, before being led away. “Good luck Mr. Baratov,” Goodman said.

“Thank you,” Baratov replied, ending what is his last court appearance in Canada. His lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said outside court that waiving extradition is “the quickest route to the U.S. so we can continue our discussions there.”

He couldn’t detail what is happening with negotiations in the U.S., which have been ongoing since March, but described them as “fruitful.” “I’m pretty confident the consent route was the wrong way to go and the waiver was the right way to go,” he said.

Had Baratov, a Canadian citizen born in Kazakhstan, consented to extradition, that process would have taken longer but would have limited the U.S. to the initial indictment. By waiving his rights, he will head straight to the U.S., but is open to the risk of facing additional charges.

Karim Baratov's lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said outside court that waiving extradition is “the quickest route to the U.S. so we can continue our discussions there.”  (NATHAN DENETTE)  

Karim Baratov's lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said outside court that waiving extradition is “the quickest route to the U.S. so we can continue our discussions there.”  (NATHAN DENETTE)  

A court order in the U.S. is already in place and a U.S. marshal is expected to come transport Baratov, to the State of California (likely San Francisco), as soon as possible, DiCarlo said.

Baratov is “excited” for the change of scenery and to see progression on the case, he said. DiCarlo said he was forbidden from revealing any details of U.S. negotiations, but did say they’ve “narrowed down timelines.”

There have been “suggestions (it) could take months and years, but that’s not going to happen,” he said, adding that everyone is working to resolve the matter faster.

Baratov was arrested at his Ancaster home on March 14 after U.S. authorities charged him with aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit fraud, in connection with a hacking scheme allegedly organized by Russian intelligence agents.

He was denied bail in Canada because he is considered a flight risk. Unable to get Baratov out of jail, DiCarlo turned his focus to the U.S. negotiations. DiCarlo maintains Baratov is “a small fish” in the whole scheme, said to have involved breaching about 500 million Yahoo email accounts used for political or financial gain.

By waiving extradition, Baratov is not admitting any guilt, he said.

Karim Baratov, alleged Yahoo hacker, to be handed over to U.S. marshals

 

Baratov waived his right to an extradition hearing Friday in Hamilton court

Karim Baratov is pictured in a framed photo at his parents' home. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Karim Baratov is pictured in a framed photo at his parents' home. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old charged in connection with an American probe into a Yahoo hacking operation, has waived an extradition hearing and will soon head to the U.S. in the custody of U.S. marshals.

His lawyer, Amadeo DiCarlo, said waiving the hearing was the "quickest route into the U.S." and that today's court appearance would be Baratov's last in Canada. "We're anxious to get him down there," he said prior to the appearance in Hamilton court Friday.

"The court order is already in place to have the marshals come up to pick up Karim." DiCarlo said that could happen as early as Friday, but likely within two weeks.

"Today is only to address the judge and indicate our decision, and I think that will be the last of the process here in Canada." The decision to waive the extradition hearing speeds up his opportunity to address the charges.

In court, Baratov smiled as he talked quietly with DiCarlo. He signed a waiver regarding his extradition rights in the judge's presence. With that, Justice Andrew Goodman ordered Baratov transferred to U.S. custody.

"Good luck, Mr. Baratov," he said. "Thank you," Baratov said. U.S. authorities allege Baratov, from suburban Ancaster, Ont., was a "hacker for hire" with Russian ties. But Canada has to surrender Baratov to the U.S. for him to face charges there.

'Let's get some lawyers and let's move on with this'

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 told CBC News last Friday. "Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time."

Baratov had two choices once he decided to bypass an extradition hearing to expedite having the charges dealt with in the U.S: waiving the process entirely or consenting to the extradition.

Goodman reminded Baratov in court Friday that waiving the extradition — essentially turning himself over to American authorities — could open him to any additional charges the U.S. decides to bring.

Consenting to the extradition would have given Canada's justice minister up to 90 days to sign off on transferring Baratov to the U.S., but would have ensured he'd face only the charges of the indictment already released in March.

"But we've had some fruitful discussions with the U.S.; I'm pretty confident the 'consent' route was the wrong way to go," DiCarlo said after the proceeding. "The waiver was the right way to go." The indictment was filed in a San Francisco federal court, but DiCarlo said it's too early to say where in California Baratov will stand trial.

Held without bail since March 14

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 if convicted, faces 20 years in a U.S. prison.

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.

After extradition of El Chapo, US prosecutors seek a rival

By DAVE KOLPACK  The Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — With notorious drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman now behind bars in New York after he was extradited from Mexico last month, federal prosecutors in North Dakota have their sights set on bringing one of his organization’s onetime rivals to the United States to face charges.

In court documents unsealed Tuesday, authorities say Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha was a top lieutenant for the Arellano Felix cartel, which smuggled cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the United States and competed against the Sinaloa cartel led by Guzman, once considered the most wanted man in the world. Authorities have described Sillas-Rocha as a prolific hit man responsible for killing 20 to 30 people a month during the cartel’s heyday in Tijuana.

Sillas-Rocha was arrested six years ago in Mexico, but his federal case in the U.S. had remained sealed from public view until this week. Tim Heaphy, former U.S. attorney from Virginia, said it’s common to seal such cases to preserve an investigation and protect witnesses. Those fears tend to evaporate when a defendant is in custody for a long time.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers, the lead prosecutor, declined to comment on the case. Court documents in Mexico listed no attorney of record for Sillas-Rocha.Sillas-Rocha, known as “Ruedas,” or “Wheels,” is charged with three counts, including conspiracy to commit murder for a continuing criminal enterprise.

He has been fighting extradition to North Dakota, where federal officials a decade ago began gathering incriminating evidence on the Arellano Felix cartel after one of its members killed a Minnesota man over a drug debt. Sillas-Rocha was arrested in Mexico in November 2011 and paraded in front of reporters by police in riot gear and masks. He remains in jail there.

The case wound up in North Dakota after Jorge “Sneaky” Arandas, a member of the Arellano Felix gang, set up shop in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota. Investigators say Arandas ordered the killing of Lee Avila, of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, in June 2005 for failing to pay for five pounds of methamphetamine that Arandas originally received from Sillas-Rocha. Arandas told police he feared that he would be killed for not paying Sillas-Rocha, so he had Avila murdered to show strength.

The indictment filed against Sillas-Rocha in March 2011 said that in addition to drug trafficking, Sillas-Rocha was involved in the supervision of crews that “participated in murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, public corruption of government officials, money laundering and other illegal conduct” meant to make money for the cartel.

The document accuses Sillas-Rocha of attempting to arrange the killings of two California residents. He allegedly offered a San Diego street gang $25,000 to kill them, paying $4,000 in advance. When the gang couldn’t find his targets, Sillas-Rocha upped his offer to $50,000 if the killings could be done quickly. He later ordered another man to kill an entire family inside their home, investigators said.

Mexican authorities say Sillas-Rocha participated in the 2010 kidnapping of three women in the family of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who was at the top of the Sinaloa cartel at the time alongside Guzman. Sillas-Rocha allegedly was retaliating for the disappearance of his sister that year.

Heaphy said he believes Mexican officials wanted the extradition of Guzman just before Trump took office to be “an Obama victory, not a Trump victory.” He said the extradition process will likely become more difficult under Trump, who has riled Mexicans with his pledge to build a border wall and deport people living in the U.S. illegally.

Sillas-Rocha was arrested six years ago in Mexico, but his federal case in the U.S. had remained sealed from public view until this week. Tim Heaphy, former U.S. attorney from Virginia, said it’s common to seal such cases to preserve an investigation and protect witnesses. Those fears tend to evaporate when a defendant is in custody for a long time.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers, the lead prosecutor, declined to comment on the case. Court documents in Mexico listed no attorney of record for Sillas-Rocha.

Sillas-Rocha, known as “Ruedas,” or “Wheels,” is charged with three counts, including conspiracy to commit murder for a continuing criminal enterprise. He has been fighting extradition to North Dakota, where federal officials a decade ago began gathering incriminating evidence on the Arellano Felix cartel after one of its members killed a Minnesota man over a drug debt. Sillas-Rocha was arrested in Mexico in November 2011 and paraded in front of reporters by police in riot gear and masks. He remains in jail there.

The case wound up in North Dakota after Jorge “Sneaky” Arandas, a member of the Arellano Felix gang, set up shop in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota. Investigators say Arandas ordered the killing of Lee Avila, of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, in June 2005 for failing to pay for five pounds of methamphetamine that Arandas originally received from Sillas-Rocha. Arandas told police he feared that he would be killed for not paying Sillas-Rocha, so he had Avila murdered to show strength.

The indictment filed against Sillas-Rocha in March 2011 said that in addition to drug trafficking, Sillas-Rocha was involved in the supervision of crews that “participated in murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, public corruption of government officials, money laundering and other illegal conduct” meant to make money for the cartel.

The document accuses Sillas-Rocha of attempting to arrange the killings of two California residents. He allegedly offered a San Diego street gang $25,000 to kill them, paying $4,000 in advance. When the gang couldn’t find his targets, Sillas-Rocha upped his offer to $50,000 if the killings could be done quickly. He later ordered another man to kill an entire family inside their home, investigators said.

Mexican authorities say Sillas-Rocha participated in the 2010 kidnapping of three women in the family of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who was at the top of the Sinaloa cartel at the time alongside Guzman. Sillas-Rocha allegedly was retaliating for the disappearance of his sister that year.

Heaphy said he believes Mexican officials wanted the extradition of Guzman just before Trump took office to be “an Obama victory, not a Trump victory.” He said the extradition process will likely become more difficult under Trump, who has riled Mexicans with his pledge to build a border wall and deport people living in the U.S. illegally.

“I would worry about the potentially acrimonious relationship between our new executive and the Mexican government,” Heaphy said. “Extradition is one of the few chips that they have to use in this game of international relations.”

A major player in the struggle for control of the Sinaloa cartel just surrendered in the US

Damaso Lopez Serrano, the son of one of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's main henchmen and a competitor for control of the Sinaloa cartel, crossed the border and turned himself into US authorities on Wednesday.

Lopez Serrano reportedly crossed from Mexicali in Mexico's Baja California state to Calexico in California, where he surrendered to the Customs and Border Patrol on Wednesday morning and was turned over to agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday afternoon.

Damaso Lopez Serrano, in an undated photo

Damaso Lopez Serrano, in an undated photo

"What we know is that he handed himself over yesterday (Wednesday). The case is now with authorities over there," a Mexican security official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Reuters.

Lopez Serrano is the son of Damaso Lopez Nuñez, aka "El Licenciado," a nickname typically given to holders of law degrees in Mexico. Lopez Nuñez, a former security official who also held several jobs in the Sinaloa state government, was a close deputy of Guzman, reportedly helping the cartel chief escape from a prison where he worked in 2001.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as he is extradited to New York, January 19, 2017.Mexico's Attorney General's Office/Handout via REUTERS

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as he is extradited to New York, January 19, 2017.Mexico's Attorney General's Office/Handout via REUTERS

His role in the escape burnished Lopez Nuñez's status in the cartel, elevating him to the upper echelons of the organization, according to Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA. Lopez Nuñez's role in the government also underscored what many saw as the state's complicity in the Sinaloa cartel's rise to power.

In the wake of Guzman's arrest in January 2016, the Lopezes became one faction in a fight to assume control of the Sinaloa cartel — a fight that has intensified since Guzman's extradition in January this year.

They reportedly joined forces with the Jalisco New Generation cartel, vying with a faction led by Guzman's sons, called the Chapitos, and with another led by members of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a one-time ally of the Sinaloa cartel. Guzman's brother, Aureliano "El Guano" Guzman, appears to be in the mix as well.

Accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez, nicknamed “The Graduate”, is escorted by police in Mexico City on May 2, 2017.Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez, nicknamed “The Graduate”, is escorted by police in Mexico City on May 2, 2017.Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, Guzman's partner and a cofounder of the Sinaloa cartel, is still involved in the cartel and is reportedly working with Guzman's sons, though reports also indicate he is in poor health and not directly involved in cartel operations.

The strategy of the Lopezes — the younger one nicknamed "El Mini Lic" — included cyber warfare, according to Televisa, using bots and contacting hackers. The latter move proved to be the elder Lopez's undoing, as the hacker contacted authorities and eventually helped them arrest him in Mexico City at the beginning of May.

Over the first half of this year, Sinaloa state saw 879 homicides compared to 524 over the same period last year, according to government data. (Though that data may undercount the number of killings.) The violence in the state seems to have intensified in the weeks since Lopez Nuñez's arrest. During the first weekend of July, there were at least 30 killings — victims' relatives allege that one incident involved the extrajudicial killing of 17 suspected criminals.

Lopez Serrano got an early start in the Sinaloa cartel, reportedly leading Los Antrax, an armed faction of the cartel made up of young members. Much like Chapo's sons, he appears to have documented his wealth and exploits on social media. Though, like the Guzmans, its not clear if the accounts attributed to him are actually his.

Lopez Serrano also has an apprehension order against him issued by the District Court for Southern California in October 2016, and it appears that recent developments on the ground in Mexico may have prompted him to surrender.

"The reason for surrender is he was being hunted by the Sinaloa cartel and 'El Chapo's sons [because of] his father's attempt to take over the cartel," Vigil told Business Insider. In addition to Lopez Nuñez's partnership with the Jalisco New Generation cartel, the elder Lopez was also accused of orchestrating an ambush on Zambada and Guzman's sons in February that killed several of their body guards.

Media in Sinaloa state, where Zambada, the Guzmans, the Lopezes are all from, have reportedthat Zambada may have been after Lopez Serrano and threatened him. Regarded as a "spoiled narco brat who never got his hands dirty," Vigil said, Lopez Serrano was likely unable to protect himself by forging a partnership with the CJNG or by marshaling the armed force established by his father, prompting him to surrender.

A Mexican soldier at the site where two people were shot dead by unidentified attackers in Culiacan, Mexico, February 7, 2017.(AP Photo/Rashide Frias)

A Mexican soldier at the site where two people were shot dead by unidentified attackers in Culiacan, Mexico, February 7, 2017.(AP Photo/Rashide Frias)

Some reports indicate Lopez Serrano spent several days in a rural area near Mexicali before crossing the border to surrender. According to Televisa, Mexican authorities believe he did so in order to negotiate or to act as a protected witness. Vice News, citing sources with the Mexican defense secretariat's second military region, reported that Lopez Serrano requested protection from the US government.

US officials are likely to look to Lopez Serrano for information on his father's associates and the dealings of his cartel, Vigil said. He may also be called to take part in the trial of Guzman, which is slated to start in April 2018 in the Eastern District of New York.

The balance of power within the cartel remains unclear — though, according to El País, Lopez Serrano's surrender appears to clear the way for Zambada, despite his purported frailty, to assume full control of the cartel he helped found and in which he has long been a partner.

"The leaders — under whatever circumstances — have always been Guzman Loera and Zambada Garcia," local crime analyst Alejandro Sicairos told El País. "And while one of the two lives, he will continue operating with the same force."

A Mexican marine looks at the body of a gunman next to a vehicle after a gun fight in Culiacan, Mexico, February 7, 2017.(AP Photo/Rashide Frias)

A Mexican marine looks at the body of a gunman next to a vehicle after a gun fight in Culiacan, Mexico, February 7, 2017.(AP Photo/Rashide Frias)

Even if that is the case, the Sinaloa cartel will still be under pressure not only from the government, but from its new chief rival, the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel.The CJNG is contesting Sinaloa's control of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, both valuable smuggling territories on the US border.

The group is also adding to the bloodshed in areas where Sinaloa has long been dominant, including Guerrero and Sinaloa states. In the latter, security officials have admitted that police are underequipped and ill-prepared to deal with the rising narco violence.

Lopez Nuñez remains in custody in Mexico, held in the same jail Guzman occupied before he was extradited. Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has said Mexico is not considering extraditing him because he could be a valuable source of information regarding the Sinaloa cartel.

Lopez Nuñez himself appears disposed to extradition however, reportedly saying he would prefer making a deal with US authorities to potentially being killed in a Mexican jail.

Paedophile spared extradition to US on human rights grounds

One of America’s most wanted paedophiles has been spared extradition from Britain by the High Court on human rights grounds.

Shawn Sullivan is now the 10th person in recent years to see their extradition to the US blocked by either the courts or Home Secretary in this country Photo: LONDON MEDIA

Shawn Sullivan is now the 10th person in recent years to see their extradition to the US blocked by either the courts or Home Secretary in this country Photo: LONDON MEDIA

Shawn Sullivan faced spending the rest of his life behind bars under a controversial sex offenders’ programme in the US, but two senior judges said this would amount to a “flagrant denial” of his rights.

As a result the 43 year-old – who married a Ministry of Justice official while in jail on remand – will not be put on trial for abusing three young girls almost 20 years ago, and can live freely in London.

Sullivan, who has a previous conviction for assaulting two girls in Ireland and was on an Interpol most-wanted list, is now the 10th person in recent years to see their extradition to the US blocked by either the courts or Home Secretary in this country.

Despite this, campaigners insist the treaty is “lop-sided” in favour of America, and attempts are still being made to block the extradition of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer, accused of running a website that linked to pirated films.

A spokesman for the US Embassy said: “We strongly disagree with the decision of the court that he should not be extradited to face trial in the U.S.

“Civil commitment is not a penal or criminal sanction; it is rather a means by which the State can protect the community from dangerous behaviour that the committed individual is unable to control.”

Sullivan, originally from Fort Benning, Georgia, was accused of raping a 14 year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11 year-olds in Minnesota between 1993 and 1994.

He fled the US as charges were filed against him and moved to Ireland, where in 1997 he was given a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting two 12 year-old girls.

Sullivan came to London on an Irish passport, using the Gaelic spelling of his name, and was arrested in Barnes, south-west London, in June 2010, where he was living with MoJ policy manager Sarah Smith. The couple married in Wandsworth Prison when he was held on remand, before he was released on bail with an electronic tag.

Initially a judge agreed to his extradition and the Home Office dismissed his appeal.

But Sullivan took his case to the High Court earlier this year, with his lawyers claiming that if he were convicted in the US, he faced being put under a “civil commitment” order at the end of his jail term that effectively meant he would be deemed “sexually dangerous” and never released.

The court was told that no one had ever been released from the treatment programme in Minnesota since it was set up in 1988.

Initially the US authorities suggested Sullivan would not be put under civil commitment but later said it was too early to tell.

In a judgment published last week, the High Court judges said there was a real risk he would be put on the programme, and that it would breach his right not to suffer loss of liberty without due process as protected by the European Court of Human Rights.

"It is clear to me that were an order of civil commitment to be made, it would be a flagrant denial of this appellant's rights under Art. 5.1," Lord Justice Moses said.

He and Mr Justice Eady gave the US government a final chance to offer assurances as to Sullivan’s treatment but it declined to do so.

In a note released on Thursday, Lord Justice Moses announced that “the United States will not provide an assurance” and so the appeal under the 2003 Extradition Act was allowed.

“The appellant will be discharged from the proceedings,” the judge said.

Morocco: Hezbollah’s funder waiting for extradition to US

Kassem Tajeddine, one of Lebanon’s Hezbollah top funders, arrested in Casablanca on Monday, is waiting for decision by a Casablanca criminal court on his extradition to the US.

The businessman is expected to appear in the dock in the criminal court in the Moroccan economic capital. He could face extradition according to article 729 of the Moroccan penal code.

The court, after conferring with the ministry of justice, will have five days to rule whether the rich man should be handed over to US authorities.

Kassem Tajeddine was arrested at Casablanca international airport on Monday while on transit to Beirut, Lebanon. He was on his way from a Southern Sahara African country where he has businesses. The man was placed in 2009 and 2010 on the US blacklist of terrorism sponsors. The CIA accuses him of funding Hezbollah; a Shia organization tagged terrorist by US authorities.

Tajeddine is known as one of the richest in Lebanon. He possesses important businesses in real estate, food industry in his country and in many African countries. The man reportedly bought vast lands at Chouf and Békaa that he turned into real estate where several figures of the Shia organization live. Tajeddine’s family and pro-Hezbollah organizations say the CIA coaxed Moroccan authorities to arrest him.

UK couple extradited to US plead guilty to fraud charges

Paul and Sandra Dunhamhad previously rejected the allegations and tried to kill themselves

Paul and Sandra Dunham pictured outside the High Court PA

Paul and Sandra Dunham pictured outside the High Court PA

A British couple who took a drug overdose ahead of being extradited to the US have pleaded guilty to fraud charges.Paul Dunham, 59, and Sandra Dunham, 58, had previously rejected the allegations against them.

However, a statement on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland said the couple yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme in which they requested reimbursement from their employer for mortgage payments on time shares in Barbados, luxury bedding for their home, a dog sofa and other personal expenses. Mr Dunham also pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Having lost their High Court battle against extradition in April, the couple were taken to Northampton General Hospital in May after they took a drug overdose the night before they were due to hand themselves in to police and in turn to US marshals.

Senior District Judge Howard Riddle at Westminster Magistrates' Court concluded that they had deliberately taken an overdose to avoid or delay extradition.

Later on the grandparents, from Northampton, were handed over to US marshals at Heathrow by officers from the Metropolitan Police's extradition unit.

According to their pleas, the defendants worked for Pace Worldwide which was located at various times in Maryland and North Carolina, and had a subsidiary in the United Kingdom named Pace Europe Ltd. Pace produced parts for the repair and reworking of electronics for the military and others.

Mr Dunham held a number of executive positions, including president and chief operating officer. Mrs Dunham was initially hired to work for the European subsidiary in the accounts department, and eventually became the director of sales and marketing for Pace Worldwide.

The Dunhams moved from the UK to Maryland then North Carolina, and were provided with corporate credit cards.

Between 2002 and 2009, they fraudulently charged personal expenses to their corporate credit cards and submitted vouchers to Pace for reimbursement that falsely described the expenditures as business expenses, the statement said.

The couple also fraudulently billed Pace Europe Ltd for business expenses already paid by Pace Worldwide, obtaining duplicate reimbursements, the statement said.

In addition, a substantial portion of the scheme involved Mr Dunham abusing a private position of trust to manage and direct others, including his secretary, in the execution of the scheme.

Moreover, he repeatedly forged receipts and invoices to create the false appearance that they were for business, rather than personal expenses.

As a result of the lengthy scheme, one million dollars (£635,500) in actual losses were incurred. The couple have agreed to forfeit and pay restitution of that amount, the statement said.

The couple will be sentenced on 29 January 2015. Mr Dunham faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy and money laundering. Sandra Dunham and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Sandra Dunham will be sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Former Sotheby’s Specialist Faces Extradition to US Over ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Worth Millions

The British dealer Timothy Sammons is in hot water with American authorities for alleged art fraud.

Vincent van Gogh, Cows in the Meadow (1883). Courtesy of Sotheby's London.

Vincent van Gogh, Cows in the Meadow (1883). Courtesy of Sotheby's London.

British art dealer Timothy Sammons’s legal troubles are getting worse: He now faces extradition to the US over 14 charges of grand larceny and one charge of scheming to defraud. The extradition request was filed by the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and UK District Judge Mike Snow has agreed to comply with it, meaning that Sammons could be in a US court in two weeks’ time.

The criminal indictment against Sammons will remain sealed until his arrival in the US, but details of the charges against him were listed in the extradition request. Those papers maintain that Sammons was engaged in a “Ponzi scheme” to acquire art from collectors while promising to find a buyer, according to the Daily Mail. 

“Sammons would then sell or borrow against the artworks and use the money for himself and his family including, [at least once], to pay for a jet to travel to a beachfront home in South Africa,” the extradition request claims, according to the Mail.

Sammons is expected to appeal the extradition decision, having initially argued that being forced to leave the country would be an extreme hardship for his wife and three children under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

Since Sammons’s alleged crimes first came to light in 2015, his two companies in New York and London have shuttered. He declared bankruptcy this January, and has been forced to turn over his passport. After reportedly defaulting on loans, Sammons also saw his £4 million London home repossessed.

Timothy Sammons

Timothy Sammons

The dealer has been accused of not reimbursing his clients in full for the sale of work by artists including Pablo PicassoMarc ChagallPaul GauguinAmedeo Modigliani, and René Magritte. Prior to his fall from grace, Sammons had been a major force in the art world. He left Sotheby’s, where he was head of the Chinese art department, to start his own art advisory business in 1995. The following year, he sold John Singer Sargent’s Cashmere to the Bill Gates Foundation for $10.7 million (£6.7 million).

“Between 2010 to 2015 he defrauded victims in the United States and elsewhere of millions of US dollars. The defendant sold works of art on behalf of several victims and failed to pay them the proceeds,” said Ben Lloyd, who is investigating the case on behalf of US authorities.

Indeed, the feds are not the only ones who want to see Sammons stateside. “There are multiple claims both in the UK and here by the consignors who have been defrauded,” attorney Christopher J. Robinson of New York’s David Wright Tremaine told artnet News. He represents Vivian Cavalieri, who in May filed suit against Sammons in connection to the sale of her Giorgio Morandi painting, Still Life With Bottles (Natural Morta) (1956).

The complaint contends that she entrusted Sammons with the canvas in November 2011, and that he sold it early the next year for $690,000, “an amount greatly below the then fair market value for the work,” which was allegedly $950,000. Cavalieri claims that Sammons hid the sale from her and then spent the next three years claiming that the Morandi market was not currently favorable and that he hoped to find a buyer soon. She is suing for compensation for damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees.

“Because his US corporation has been wound up, and he’s not present in the US, it’s very difficult to sue him directly,” Robinson noted. “Our intention is to serve Mr. Sammons once he gets extradited to the United States.”

Another pending US case revolves around Vincent van Gogh’s Cows in a Meadow (1883), which another collector, the California-based Houston A. Cummings, sold through Sotheby’s in 2014. Sammons was the seller’s agent in the £458,500 ($778,173) sale.

Once the auction house’s cut and Sammons’ commission were accounted for, Cummings was supposed to receive £327,227 ($555,000), according to a sale summary from Sammons, submitted as an exhibit in the complaint. Cummings claims to have received only £150,000 ($254,000) from the dealer, and is suing for the remainder, as well as interest, damages, and attorney’s fees

Another case, filed in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan by Ralph Booth II, was resolved through default judgment in September 2016. Because Sammons did not respond to the suit, he was ordered to pay the plaintiff the $193,000 balance plus $12,850 in attorneys’ fees in connection with the $7.5 million sale of Gauguin’s Nature Morte a la Ceramique in 2011.

The Daily Mail reports that Sammons attributes his years-long delays in paying his clients to “the timing of the business.… In some cases we would have numerous items being sold within one contract. And it could take years to complete.”

artnet News reached out to Sammons’s attorney, Maya Silva of London’s Kingley Napley, who declined to comment on the case.