EU says will support UK in Russian spy case if requested

Military forces work on a van in Winterslow, England, Monday, March 12, 2018, as investigations continue into the nerve-agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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EU says will support UK in Russian spy case if requested

BRUSSELS: The EU has pledged to help the UK if asked in its investigation into the “shocking” attempted murder of a former Russian spy and that it was ready to support Britain.
Britain gave President Vladimir Putin until midnight on Tuesday to explain how a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union was used to strike down a former Russian double agent who passed secrets to British intelligence.
A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in an emailed response that the use of a military-grade chemical agent in a murder attempt on UK soil, which threatened civilians, was “shocking.”
“We stand with the UK in pursuit of justice in this case and are ready to offer support if necessary.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump says he will talk to UK Prime Minister Theresa May later on Tuesday about the attack.


Brazilian police arrest fugitive US has linked to Hezbollah

Updated 4 min 37 sec ago
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Brazilian police arrest fugitive US has linked to Hezbollah

SAO PAULO: Brazilian police on Friday arrested a fugitive sought in Paraguay who is accused by US officials of belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and of being a key financier of terrorism.
Police took Assad Ahmad Barakat into custody in the border city of Foz do Iguacu, which is home to the famous Iguazu Falls and sits where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.
Authorities in Paraguay are seeking Barakat on allegations of false representation, police said, and Brazil's Supreme Court authorized his arrest earlier this month. The Brazilian federal prosecutor's office said in a statement that Barakat's case meets the requirements for an arrest with a view to extradition.
In Paraguay, Barakat is accused of presenting a declaration of incorrect nationality and omitting information about the loss of nationality, the prosecutors' statement said. Barakat was born in Lebanon but has lived in South America for years.
Prosecutors said they had information that Barakat applied for refugee status in Brazil when he learned of Paraguay's arrest warrant, but that only the recognition of refugee status would prevent his extradition, which was not the case here.
In 2004, the US Treasury Department accused Barakat of serving as a treasurer for Hezbollah, which it considers a terrorist organization, and ordered American banks to freeze any of his assets found in the United States. At the time, Barakat was serving time in a Paraguayan prison for tax evasion. Two years later it added several of his associates to its watchlist, on which Barakat remains.
Brazilian police said Argentine authorities have accused associates of Barakat of laundering $10 million in a scheme in casinos, and they have frozen the group's assets.
Barakat was extradited from Brazil to Paraguay in 2003 and was convicted of tax evasion. He returned to live in Brazil in 2008 after he was released from prison, police said.