Thailand extradites US drug smuggler

Updated 28 September 2013
0

Thailand extradites US drug smuggler

BANGKOK: An American described as a “leading drug lord” with a network spanning Asia and the United States was sent back to the US on a government-chartered plane following his arrest in Thailand, authorities said Friday.
Agents from the US Drug Enforcement Agency were sent on the flight to escort Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, and five other suspects arrested during a sting operation on the resort island of Phuket, said Thai deputy police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang.
The flight was bound for New York where an arrest warrant has been issued for the six men, he said.
Hunter and his suspected accomplices — identified as two Brits, a Slovak, a Filipino and a Taiwanese — were arrested Wednesday during a sting operation launched at the request of the DEA following a lengthy investigation into the suspected drug gang, police said.
“He is a leading drug lord” wanted for drug smuggling, trafficking and other international crimes, Somyot said.
“This group was considered to be a big network that spanned many countries,” including Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Somyot said.
According to Thai police, Hunter served in the US Navy, and his alleged accomplices were also believed to have had military training.
“All these people were trained to kill,” Somyot told reporters Thursday at a police airport in Bangkok after the handcuffed suspects were flown in from Phuket.
He said the DEA contacted Thai authorities several months ago to say that Hunter was believed to be hiding in Phuket, where he had rented a house. Hunter regularly traveled around the region and last entered Thailand from the Philippines on Sept. 6, Somyot said.

US Embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler in Bangkok said he could not immediately comment on the case and referred questions to Washington.


Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

Updated 46 min 51 sec ago
0

Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

  • Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB
  • Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A former Goldman Sachs banker accused of involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal will only be extradited to the United States after legal proceedings against him in Malaysia are completed, a minister said.
Huge sums of public money were purportedly stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB and used to buy everything from yachts to art in a scheme that allegedly involved former premier Najib Razak and contributed to his government’s election defeat.
Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars, and investigators believe cash was laundered through the US financial system.
Malaysian Ng Chong Hwa, a former managing director at the bank, was indicted in November when US authorities also lodged an extradition request. He has been in custody in Malaysia since the US indictment.
Malaysia also filed charges against Ng, more commonly known as Roger Ng, as well as Goldman.
At a court hearing last week, Ng agreed to stop fighting the extradition request and said he wanted to be sent to the US within 30 days.
But Malaysia’s government must approve his extradition, and Interior Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Ng’s case in Malaysia must go ahead first.
“We will honor the extradition but we will prioritize the case in Malaysia until it is completed. This is the advice of the attorney-general, and we will abide by it,” Yassin said.
Ng’s case will likely come before the Malaysian courts again next month, he said.
Ng was charged in Malaysia in December with four counts related to 1MDB, and has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 40 years in jail if convicted.
As well as Ng, former Goldman partner Tim Leissner and the bank’s subsidiaries are also accused of making false statements in order to steal billions of dollars, and of bribing officials.
Leissner has already pleaded guilty in the US to 1MDB-linked charges.