France joins Russia and US in requesting extradition of Alexander Vinnik

Alexander Vinnik has been imprisoned in northern Greece since last summer. He was originally arrested after the US requested his extradition to face charges of laundering more than $4 billion on a bitcoin trading platform. This week France joined Russia and the US who are already competing to have Vinnik extradited. French authorities would like Vinnik extradited so he can face cybercrime, money-laundering and extortion charges. The Supreme Court of Greece has already ruled in favour of extraditing him to the United States, but another lower Greek court ruled for his extradition to Russia. The case is ongoing, but it will be the Greek Justice Minister who has the final word on Vinnik’s extradition.

 

France seeks extradition of businessman in illegal financing of Sarkozy campaign investigation

French businessman Alexandre Djourhi is currently on bail in the UK, where he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by France in December, and awaiting his extradition hearing on 17 April. Mr Djourhi is wanted by French police for questioning as part of an inquiry into the alleged illegal financing of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s first presidential bid in 2007.

French authorities have been investigating suggestions that Libya’s former President Muammar Gaddafi and his family helped to finance Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign, including through the purchase of a villa in south-east France for several times its market value. The property, said to have been owned by Djourhi, was bought for €10m by Libyan sovereign wealth fund the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, and French authorities want to determine whether the money was ultimately transferred to Sarkozy’s campaign.

French Court of Appeal allows Argentina’s request for extradition of Mario Sandoval

The French courts have focused on one particular case of abuse – the disappearance of Hernan Abriata, a 25-year-old architecture student whose body has never been found.  The Court of Appeal determined that, because Abriata’s body has never been found and no witnesses have attested to his death, the offence is ongoing and therefore no statute of limitations applies.

However, Mr Sandoval claims that he has been a victim of mistaken identity and has indicated he will appeal the Court’s ruling. Thereafter, the Prime Minister of France would still have to approve the extradition, after which Mr Sandoval will be able to challenge that decision before France’s Council of State.

French Court of Appeal to rule on Argentina’s extradition request for Mario Sandoval

On 19 October, France’s Court of Appeal in Versailles is expected to hand down judgment on Argentina’s request to extradite Mario Arturo Sandoval. Mr Sandoval is accused by Argentina of involvement in various human rights abuses during the country’s 1976-83 military dictatorship.

Mr Sandoval has held French citizenship since 1997, and has been resident in France since 1985. Argentina’s request for his extradition was lodged in 2012 as part of an Argentinian judge’s investigation into abuses that took place at a covert detention centre hidden beneath the School of Marine Mechanics in Buenos Aires. The French courts are focusing on only one particular case of abuse – the disappearance of Hernan Abriata, a 25-year-old architecture student whose body has never been found. Mr Sandoval argues that he is the victim of mistaken identity.