TORONTO - A Russian flight attendant appeared in a Toronto court on Tuesday to contest extradition to the U.S. on charges relating to a multi-million-dollar Internet fraud involving the sale of vehicles.
Marina Talashkova, 24, of Yekaterinburg, appeared at a University Ave. courthouse and her case was remanded until March 6, officials with the Russian consulate-general said on Tuesday.Talashkova was arrested Jan. 15 at Pearson airport after stepping off a Russian-based Transaero Airlines aircraft, on which she worked.
Talashkova was detained at the request of the U.S., which is seeking her extradition to Nevada to stand trial for a slew of fraud-related offences, police said. She was among six people charged last December by U.S. police for her alleged role in Internet scheme that defrauded hundreds of buyers of up to $4.2 million from the sale of vehicles, motorcycles, boats and motor homes. The vehicles were posted for sale on websites including eBay Motors, Auto Trader, Yahoo Auto, Edmunds.com and Craigslist.
Would-be customers using Pay Pal accounts deposited payments into a number of bank accounts. No vehicles were delivered to victims, police said.
Igor Kiykov, of the Russian consulate-general in Toronto, said his officials are helping Talashkova find a lawyer and cope with other tasks. Kiykov said officials are doing everything they can to obtain the early release of Talashkova.
“This is quite a shock for her,” he said. “She has been to the U.S. twice and swears she did not commit any fraud.” He said Russia still has not received official notice from U.S. police on the charges despite a legal agreement between the countries.
Officials from Transaero Airlines in Moscow refused to comment on the case. Transaero operates scheduled and charter flights to more than 70 destinations, including two direct flights from Toronto to Moscow weekly.
Talashkova is facing charges, including conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.