News

'Houdini is nothing compared to you'

The quote of a client M.F. whose Appeal was finally granted by Consent Order from the Administrative Court on 1 December 2017.


M.F.'s extradition was originally ordered by the Westminster Magistrates' Court on 10 November 16, then his initial appeal was refused by the High Court on 24 January 17 and then refused again at an Oral Renewal Hearing 16 February 17.


However on 3 March 17 George successfully applied to stay the extradition pending the outcome of the Romanian Article 3 appeals (Greku & Ors v Romania). This stay was lifted after the initial hearing in Grekutended to go against usand the Appellants' extradition was scheduled for 12 April 17. However, on 11 April 17, George applied again for a stay of extradition and this was again granted by the High Court.


This led to months of legal argument and ultimately, the Respondent Judicial Authority (Romania) conceded defeat on Article 3 grounds and, on 1 December 2017, the High Court sealed a Consent Order quashing the Extradition Order of 10 November 2016 and ordering the Appellant's discharge.


This led to the client's genuine quote: 'Houdini is nothing compared to you'

We will continue to always ruthlessly advance our client's rights.

The Most High Profile Extradition Case of 2017

3 High Court Successes in a Row

George Hepburne Scott wins three High Court Extradition Appeals in a row:

 

1. Vidmantas Michelebertas v Republic of Lithuania - This was a case involving a Robbery conviction from Lithuania. Following successful legal arguments from George Hebpurne Scott, the High Court upheld the appeal and the Appellant was released.

2. Marek Jaworski v Poland – This was a case involving an allegation of £multi-million fraud. The High Court discharged the Appellant following successful legal argument from George on s.2, s.14, s.21 of the Extradition Act 2003 and Article 8 of the ECHR.

3. Roman Kolodziejczyk v Poland – This was a case involving a conviction for Murder. FollowingGeorge’s successful legal argument surrounding Article 13 of the European Council Framework Decision the Appeal was allowed and the Appellant released.

Vijay Mallya, the Indian Tycoon, has his Extradition Hearing set for December 2017

Vijay Mallya may be extradited to India after his hearing in December 2017. The Indian tycoon faces allegations of fraud and illegal fund diversions. The business tycoon is being represented by one of the best extradition barristers in the United Kingdom. Vijay Mallya’s London based barrister has suggested that even if the judge rules at the December hearing for the Indian Tycoon to be extradited, there would be a long appeals process that leaves a number of opportunities for the decision to be overruled.

The Indian tycoon, Vijay Mallya, is set to face the extradition courts in the United Kingdom in December 2017. The justices of the court will then decide whether Vijay Mallya can be extradited to India to face prosecution for fraud and illegal fund diversions.

In July 2017, Vijay Mallya appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court for the third time this year. Emma Arbuthnot, the Presiding magistrate of the day, heard that the Indian businessman is facing a second extradition after India requested he be returned to face further charges. Vijay Mallya allegedly laundered money whilst in India, the Indian government sent an extradition request so he could face trial for his alleged crimes. 

Vijay Mallya is being represented by one of the best barristers in London who has stated that, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, and his government have been seeking the extradition of Mr. Mallya to India for a number of months. He went on to say that if extradited Mr. Mallya will face trial for fraud and other alleged fund divisions linked to the collapse of, Kingfisher Airlines, his former company prior to its demise in 2012.

Mr Mallya has been living in London, England since March of last year. He has been under an enormous amount of pressure from India’s state banks to repay his debts. Mr. Mallya owes $1.3 billion following the demise of his airline last year.

In January of 2017, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation filed criminal charges against the financial tycoon, Mr. Mallya. They also filed criminal charges against nine of his bankers and a number of his former senior executives. The charges allege that Mr. Mallya diverted funds of over $134 million from a loan which had been extended to Mr. Mallya’s company, Kingfisher, by the state owned, IDBI bank.

Mr. Mallaya has one of the best extradition barristers working on his defence. Ben Watson, the said barrister, has confirmed to the court that the Indian prosecution team have sent them over eight hundred pages of material on the case. He said they have received all the documents and have just begun the process of working through all the information. He went on to say that Mr. Mallya is engaging with his extradition request constructively.

Mr. Mallya was not required to attend court last Thursday for the initial hearing. However, he attended the hearing and listened to the proceedings. The Indian Tycoon is currently on conditional bail and is not required to attend court until his extradition hearing in December.

A senior district Judge in the United Kingdom has stated that Mr. Mallya’s extradition hearing would start on the 4th December 2017. The trial is expected to last two weeks, the senior district judge will then retire to make her decision on whether she believes Mr. Mallya should be extradited to India.

However, the entire process is likely to last years. Although the hearing itself is said to last just two weeks, the appeals process offers a number of chances to have the decision appealed against.

Mr. Mallya was not only the owner of Kingfisher airline, he was also formerly the chairman of United spirits. United Spirits is the maker of Kingfisher beer and the largest spirit company in India. Mr. Mallya was arrested in April this year by Scotland Yard’s extradition unit. He was then taken into custody in London. Scotland Yard were acting on behalf of the Indian authorities who had made a request for Mr. Mallya to be arrested.

Mr. Mallya became a very unpopular figure in India after his debts began to grow. Mr. Mallya’s faltering airline company failed to pay pilots and cabin crew, individuals were not paid by the company for months. Mr. Mallya became increasingly unpopular because despite failing to pay those employed by his company, Mr. Mallya continued to live an incredibly lavish lifestyle.

Mr. Mallya moved to the United Kingdom in March of 2016. He moved to London even though a court order had been sought by his creditors to stop him from leaving the country. However, Mr. Mallya’s lawyer, who is one of the best extradition barristers based in London has commented that Mr. Mallya did not flee. Mr. Mallya himself has also denied the allegations that he fled India to avoid his creditors and paying his debts. According to Mr. Mallya his decision to leave India and move to the United Kingdom was not his decision, but that it was a “forced exile”.

The first ruling will be handed down in December 2017. Mr. Mallya’s extradition barrister will then be able to appeal if the ruling is not in their favour. If the appeal process is unsuccessful then the United Kingdom will have to surrender Mr. Mallya. In cases of extradition, the individual should normally be surrended within ten days of the final court order. In exceptional circumstances this time limit can be extended, with the agreement of the requesting state, who in this situation would be India.

Nikulin: Alleged Russian Hacker

A Russian suspected of hacking is now a step closer to being extradited to the United States

The FBI have accused Yevgeniy Nikulin, A Russian national, of hacking LinkedIn, Formspring and Dropbox. Russia and the United States have now put out requests for him to be extradited.

A judge, in the Czech Republic, has given a tentative approval for Nikulin to be extradited to the United States. The tentative approval came in number of days ago, after a court hearing was conducting inside a high security Prague prison.

Nikulin was arrested in October of 2016 whilst out for dinner at a restaurant in the Czech Republic. He appeared at the hearing on Tuesday after months in solitary confinement in the Prague prison.

The FBI have accused Nikulin of hacking a significant number of passwords on LinkedIn, Formspring and Dropback in 2012. Nikulin’s arrest occurred three days prior to the Obama administration officially accusing Russia of interfering in the election by hacking the Democratic National Committee.

Nikulin’s and some of the best extradition lawyers working for him, have declared the case a “set up”. He has stated that he is not a hacker but instead a sales man, dealing in luxury cars. His lawyer went on to comment that Nikulin was far from a hacker. He suggested that his computer skills fell short of a super hacker and he wasn’t capable of more than checking emails.

However, special agents within the FBI believe otherwise. In an affidavit the special agent lists a number of aliases Nikulin used to hack the sites. The special agent has gone on to say that there is evidence from witnesses, ISP records and electronic interceptions which prove he is an expert hacker.

The affidavit from the special agent links Nikulin only to the hacking of the three social media sites in 2012. It does not link him to the election hacking of the United States democratic party. However, a letter emerged that Nikulin wrote whilst in prison stating that he had been interrogated by the secret agent in February of 2017 and that election hacking had been raised during the interrogation. Exerts of the letter has since been published in English Newspaper, The Guardian, however, Nikulin’s claim of interrogation has not yet been substantiated.

According to the letter, the secret agent demanded a confession from Nikulin, saying that if he admitted to hacking the servers of the DNC then the current United States government promised good treatment. Nikulin continued that he rejected this offer.

A document within the court papers has stated that an interrogation of Nikulin was conducted on the 7th February 2017. The assistant US attorney was present, alongside four Czech intelligence officers. It states that he was read his rights, pleaded not guilty and the interrogation was completed within 29 minutes.

As mentioned above, Nikulin’s has some of the best extradition lawyers working on his behalf, and they have suggested that the record of the interrogation was incomplete and that Nikulin had fallen victim to an FBI plot. Other individuals close to the case have dismissed the idea of a conspiracy, they have however conceded that there are several unusual elements surrounding the case.

One theory made by an American journalist, suggests that FBI has been rounding up Russian hackers. He believes they are doing so, so they will inform on other hackers and thus find all the individuals involved in the hacking.

Nikulin had crossed the Belarus-Poland border on the 1st October 2016. He posted a picture of himself in Warsaw on the 3rd October 2016 and was arrested on the 5th October whilst at dinner in Prague’s old town.

Immediately after Nikulin’s arrest, Russia filed their own extradition request. The reuest was based on a minor electronic theft committed in 2009. Nikulin has some of the best extradition lawyers working on his case who have stated that Russia’s arrest request is unconvincing. Howver, they continued that Nikulin would be willing to accept extradition to the United States. It has been suggested by several extradition experts that the arrest request was a thinly veiled attempt at stopping Nikulin being extradited to the United States.

It has been reported that the United States and Russia have placed considerable pressure on Prague to have Nikulin extradited. It has been reported in the Czech paper the Respekt that Russia has informally offered a swap of Nikulin for a number of Czech citizens who are wanted by Prague for a series of financial crimes.

The hearing on Tuesday afternoon was held in a small room inside of the Prague prison, the measure was considered necessary however, this meant there were only four journalists within the room that were able to witness and report on the issues. Nikulin’s top extradition lawyer has commented that in his 25 year career he had never before witnessed such a proceeding, not even for serial killers or individuals involved in serious organized crimes.

Nikulin’s mother appeared at the hearing, she stated that her son looked like skin and bones and that the decision to extradite him was political. She refused to pass comment on the nature of the allegations against Nikulin.

The judge who oversaw the case held that the requests made by both the Russian government and the United States government, met the legal requirements for an extradition request. Some of the best extradition lawyer in the country have advised Nikulin to appeal against the United States extradition but not the Russian extradition request.

After all appeals, have been heard and ruled upon, it will be at the discretion of the Czech Justice minister to decide where Nikulin will be extradited to.

It has been suggested by informed sources that the decision will be to extradite to the United States.

However, the Minister cannot currently comment on the case.