By Jack Queen
(Reuters) – FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried could surrender to United States custody after his indictment and arrest in the Bahamas or fight removal under the terms of the island nation’s extradition treaty with the United States, potentially joining a number of high-profile extradition cases in recent years.
Here are some recent high profile extradition cases:
WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been fighting extradition to the United States on espionage charges since he was arrested in London in 2019, after spending seven years there holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Assange, an Australian citizen, was charged by U.S. federal prosecutors with publishing secret diplomatic cables and military reports on his Wikileaks site, in what U.S. authorities have dubbed one of the biggest leaks of classified information in history.
A UK court initially blocked Assange’s extradition due to concerns over his mental health, but the United States successfully appealed the decision.
Assange appealed in August. He has said he is being persecuted for his political beliefs and that he was acting as a journalist in publishing the leaked documents.
HUAWEI CFO MENG WANZHOU
Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was held in Canada for nearly three years as the United States sought her extradition on charges of helping the Chinese telecom giant evade sanctions against Iran.
Meng was detained in Vancouver in 2018, and U.S. federal prosecutors unveiled fraud and conspiracy charges against her the following month.
During extradition proceedings, Meng’s lawyers alleged Canadian authorities unlawfully detained her and said her conduct was not criminal under Canadian law, a requirement for extradition.
Meng returned to China in September 2021 after entering into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which withdrew its extradition request.
JOAQUIN ‘EL CHAPO’ GUZMAN
Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzm n was extradited to the United States on a raft of federal charges in January 2017 after years of delays and a brazen escape from a maximum- security prison in Mexico.
Guzman was arrested in Mexico in 2014, but he escaped prison a year later through a tunnel dug under his cell. He was recaptured in January 2016.
Mexican authorities had previously insisted Guzman serve a lengthy prison sentence at home before being sent to the United States but changed their position after his escape.
Guzman’s lawyers delayed his extradition for years by filing a flurry of legal injunctions, but the kingpin finally exhausted his appeals and was sent to the United States.
Guzman convicted at trial in New York federal court on all counts against him in February 2019. He was sentenced to life in prison.
ACCOMPLICES IN CARLOS GHOSN ESCAPE
Michael Taylor and his son, Peter, were extradited from the United States to Japan in March 2021 for helping former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Tokyo in 2019 after being charged with financial crimes.
Japanese authorities said the Taylors hid Ghosn in an audio equipment box and smuggled him onto a plane to his native Lebanon which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
The Taylors asked a federal court to block their extradition to Japan, saying “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and that they would be subjected to ‘mental and physical torture’ if incarcerated there.
A federal judge rejected the Taylors’ petition and cleared their extradition in January 2021. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected their appeal of the decision two months later.
(Reporting by Jack Queen in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Matthew Lewis and Lincoln Feast.)