US seeks extradition of cannabis seed seller from UK

The US is seeking the extradition of Gypsy Nirvana, a British businessman, from the UK to face trial on charges relating to the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis seeds. A UK Court dismissed the request in X, on the grounds that his seed business was not illegal in the UK, and the US is now appealing that decision.

The US investigation into Nirvana began in 2013, while he was living in the Philippines. He was detained there for 30 months, until the UK embassy eventually secured his return to the UK.

Former Catalan education minister goes into exile in Scotland

The former education minister of Catalonia Clara Ponsati, appointed by former-President Carles Puigdemont in July 2017, has resigned and gone into exile in Scotland. She fled Spain for Belgium after Catalonia declared independence last October, and is wanted by Spain on charges of sedition and rebellion. A number of pro-independence politicians have already been jailed by Spain on charges connected to Catalonia’s declaration of independence.

Spain has struggled to secure the extradition of several government ministers who fled last year, and withdrew a European Arrest Warrant for them after Belgium did not recognise the charges against them.  It has also been rebuffed by Switzerland who found Ponsati was wanted “for political crimes”.

Jordan seeks extradition of Walid al-Kurdi on corruption charges

Jordan has requested that Interpol issue a red notice for Jordanian man Walid al-Kurdi, 72, who has been sentenced to 37 years of hard labour on allegations of corruption. Mr al-Kurdi, a former chairman of the Jordan Phosphates Mining Company, is currently in self-imposed exile in the UK.

Germany declines to extradite traders charged with Euribor rigging to the UK

Germany has declined an extradition request from the UK for four traders at Deutsche Bank AG who are charged in the UK with rigging the Euribor interest rate benchmark. The decision came after a German court ruled that the alleged crimes had taken place too far in the past to be tried.

However, the traders still face arrest warrants in other EU countries such as France and Italy, and the UK could also choose to pursue them through Interpol after it leaves the EU.

Singapore assures UK wanted bank robber will not face corporal punishment if extradited

Singapore has agreed to the UK’s request for an assurance that, if extradited to Singapore, Canadian David James Roach would not be sentenced to corporal punishment. Singapore is seeking the extradition of Mr Roach on charges of robbery and money laundering, after he allegedly stole $30,000 from a branch of Standard Chartered in an unarmed robbery. The charges carry possible penalties of up to 10 years in jail and at least six strokes of the cane for the robbery charge.

He originally fled to Thailand, where he was arrested, but Thailand refused Singapore’s extradition request on the basis that the countries have no extradition treaty between them. He was sentenced to 14 months in jail in Thailand, after which he sought to return to Canada but was arrested at Heathrow airport in the UK.

US withdraws extradition request for Lauri Love

The US has withdrawn its request that the UK extradite Lauri Love, who is charged by the US with hacking into several government agencies and stealing large amounts of data in 2012 and 2013. However, the US agreed with the UK High Court’s recent finding that extradition would be oppressive to Mr Love’s mental and physical health (see previous blog).

Mr Love still faces prosecution in the UK, but with a substantially lower sentence if found guilty.

Sweden wanted to withdraw its extradition request for Julian Assange in 2013

It is reported that Sweden wanted to withdraw its extradition request for Julian Assange in 2013, but was dissuaded by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny is said to have written to the CPS in 2013 stating that Sweden felt “obliged to lift the detention order…and to withdraw the European Arrest Warrant”, noting that “The time passing, the costs, and how service the crime is” had to be taken into account. She added that Swedish law required “coercive measures to be proportionate”.

Sweden did not ultimately withdraw its extradition request for Mr Assange until 2017.