x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

High court refuses extradition of Russian

Suspect was charged with laundering money and embezzlement, but supreme court says required report was not included in request.

ABU DHABI // The Federal Supreme Court has refused the extradition of a Russian national, charged in his home country with embezzlement and money laundering, because the extradition request did not include a required investigation report.

According to a 2006 federal law, judicial authorities, which request the extradition of a defendant from the UAE, must enclose a signed copy of the investigation files related to the case. In May 2009 the Federal Public Prosecution referred a Russian national to the Criminal Court at the Federal Supreme Court to decide if the extradition request was admissible. The man is charged with embezzlement, forgery and money laundering in Russia. If convicted, he could be jailed for more than a year, according to both countries' laws.

The UAE and Russia drafted an extradition treaty in October of last year. The extradition request was based on reciprocity rather than an extradition treaty. The Russian national appeared before the court on May 19 last year and the court ruled his extradition was admissible. He appealed the verdict and was re-tried by another jury panel at the same court. The new panel ruled on March 22 that his extradition was inadmissible because the request did not include the investigation report, required according to 2006 UAE law. The Federal Public Prosecution appealed the new verdict again.

The federal public prosecutors argued that the extradition request was submitted by Russian authorities before the adoption of the 2006 federal law. They added that the court did not request such a report from Russia, which in turn did not refuse to present a report. "Had the Russian authorities refused to present such a report, then the court can cite the refusal to deny them the extradition request," prosecutors were quoted as saying in a court document released yesterday.

"The court should have requested the files from [Russia], especially that the extradition request should be based on the principle of reciprocity, not on a bilateral agreement with clear-cut rules," prosecutors added. "A country that requests an extradition does not have to know all the legislations of the other country in order to enclose all documents required by the latter country." "Based on all this, the previous verdict should be annulled," prosecutors demanded.

The court replied that the argument was invalid because the previous argument of the supreme court was final and could not be disputed. "When the Federal Supreme Court decides on a legal issue, this decision acquires an absolute argument that cannot be disputed under any circumstances, neither by the court itself nor by lower courts," said Justice Dr Abdulwahab Abdul, president and chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court. @Email:hhassan@thenational.ae