Today the Chief Magistrate of England and Wales, Emma Arbuthnot, has ordered that Ivica Todoric be extradited to Croatia to face fraud charges. The Croatian businessman is the owner of the biggest employer in the Balkans, Agrokor. The Chief Magistrate said that there was significant evidence of fraud and that the Croatian authorities were in the advanced stages of the investigation and wanted Mr Todoric to face trial alongside 14 other alleged fraudsters. Mr Todoric’s main ground for contesting extradition was his belief that his prosecution is politically motivated. The Chief Magistrate dismissed this argument out of hand as a “conspiracy theory.” The Chief Magistrate accepted that the case did have a political element because Agrokor represented 15% of Croatia’s GDP, however, she reasoned that given the compelling evidence against Mr Todoric he should be extradited. The Chief Magistrate also remanded Mr Todoric on bail which included conditions to report daily to a local police station and subjected him to a nightly curfew. This decision means that Mr Todoric has 7 days to appeal that decision and failing an attempt to appeal he will be extradited to Croatia within the next 10 days.
The Appeals Chamber of Bosnia’s state court has rejected Turkey’s request for the extradition of an individual who was alleged to have been involved in the July 2016 coup in Turkey. The Appeals Chamber approved the judgment of the lower court on the basis that Ms Gokcen had requested asylum in Bosnia before Turkey requested her extradition. The Bosnian courts decided that there was no evidence to suggest that Ms Gokcen was a member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and even if she was found to be a member, the organisation had not been outlawed by the Council of Europe or the UN. This decision has been made despite Turkey’s belief that the cleric Gulen Futullah and his network orchestrated the coup and their efforts, thus far without success, to ensure that other European states extradite anyone alleged to be a member of FETO.
The European Commission is proposing new rules to make collecting electronic evidence such as social media posts, emails and documents easier and quicker. The new rules are designed to help authorities trace leads online and across borders whilst also protecting the rights of the data subjects.
In short, the proposals will:
1. Create a European Production Order. This means any judicial authority, in any Member State in the EU, will be able to ask service providers directly for any data that could help them investigate a case. This includes emails, text messages, app messages, videos etc. Judicial authorities will be able to request data from service providers that operate in any EU Member State regardless of the location of the data itself. Service providers will then be obliged to respond within 10 days, in most cases, or 6 hours in emergency cases.
2. Prevent data from being deleted using a European Preservation Order. This order gives judicial authorities in any EU Member state the power to oblige service providers to preserve data. This will mean that data, that may otherwise have been lost, can be preserved and then requested later using mutual legal assistance, a European Production Order or a European Investigation Order.
3. Create safeguards and remedies. Both a European Production Order and a European Preservation Order can only be used in criminal proceedings and all usual criminal procedural rules will still apply. The new rules will help to create a strong protection of fundamental rights, for example, due to the way certain categories of data are obtained. If the request for data violates one of the data subject’s rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, then the service provider can request a review.
4. Require designated legal representatives in the EU. Under the new rules all EU service providers will be obliged to designate a legal representative. This includes service providers who operate in the EU but are located in a non- EU country. The legal representatives will receive, comply with and enforce EU decisions and orders issued by the competent legal authorities of the EU member states for the purposes of gathering evidence in criminal proceedings.
5. Provide legal certainty. The new rules are intended to provided much-needed legal certainty to service providers and businesses. After the new rules come into force, the service providers will be obliged to hand over data rather that requested to do so voluntarily.
Below you will find links to useful documents from the European Commission relating to the new rules that facilitate access to electronic evidence:
Today marks the sixth time a Greek court has denied Turkey’s request for the extradition of an alleged member of Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). The alleged member, Mr Agarmis, was arrested in Athens last year with 8 other alleged members of the same group.
Despite the DHKP-C being listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S and the European Union, the Court of Appeal in Larissa explained that Mr Agarmis would not be extradited due to Turkey’s poor human rights record.
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe anti-corruption body has expressed serious concerns over the proposed amendments to the Romanian Criminal Code. It has been suggested that the proposed measures would restrict the use of covert investigative techniques and are likely to hinder Romania’s ability to combat corruption and other serious criminal matters. Beyond the borders of Romania, GRECO also suggest that the amendments would prevent Romania from being able to comply with Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
GREGO have suggested that Romania needs to improve the transparency of its legislative process by developing rules on consultations, hearings and debates as well as ensuring that an urgent legislative procedure is available when needed. Additionally, GRECO explained that the process for appointing and revoking senior prosecutorial functions needs to be more objective and transparent.
GRECO have also announced that Romania have been asked to provide an update on the proposed amendments during a meeting scheduled for June 2018.
The CJEU today ruled that Germany were right to extradite Roman Pisciotti to the US. Mr Pisciotti was accused of anti-trust offences which took place in Florida between 1999 and 2006. A Florida court issued a warrant for his arrest in 2010 and he was eventually arrested at Frankfurt airport in 2013. Germany extradited Mr Pisciotti to the US in 2014 where he served a 2-year prison sentence. In the CJEU, his lawyers argued that as he is an EU citizen he should have been treated equally to German citizens and therefore not extradited to the US as Article 16 of Germany’s Basic Law prevents Germans from being extradited other than to other EU Member States. Therefore, despite being Italian, Mr Pisciotti argued that when in Germany he was entitled under EU law to the same protection as a German citizen. The CJEU decided that Germany’s decision to extradite Mr Pisciotti did not breach EU anti-discrimination principles and that such principles should not be used in a way that would result in individuals being granted immunity from justice throughout the EU. The effect of the CJEU judgement is that Germany does not have to offer all EU citizens the same protection from extradition as it does its own citizens. However, the court held that where the extradition of an EU citizen was requested by a 3rd country, outside of the EU, from an EU Member State that would not ordinarily extradite its own citizens to that 3rd country, the authorities of that Member State should first enquire with requested person’s country of citizenship whether it wished to prosecute him for the offence that was the subject of the extradition request. If his country of citizenship declined, then extradition to the 3rd country could follow.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, a Russian man accused by the US of hacking into file-hosting site Dropbox and social networks LinkedIn and Formspring in 2012-13, has been extradited to the US and is due to appear in court today for a detention hearing. Nikulin was the subject of competing claims from the US and Russia for his extradition from the Czech Republic, having been accused by Russia of the much less serious crime of involvement in a $2,000 electronic theft in 2009 (see previous blog).
It is the not the first time that Russia has lodged a competing extradition claim when one of its nationals is facing extradition. If convicted in the US, Nikulin could receive a custodial sentence of several decades.