Frenchman linked to Sarkozy probe faces UK extradition hearing

French-Algerian businessman Alexandre Djouhri arrives at Westminster Magistrates court in central London on January 21, 2019 to attend an extradition hearing. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
0

Frenchman linked to Sarkozy probe faces UK extradition hearing

  • The 59-year-old businessman was summoned several times by the French courts and arrested at London Heathrow Airport in January 2018 on a European arrest warrant

LONDON: The Franco-Algerian businessman arrested in Britain as part of a probe into France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy claimed on Monday he was a “victim” of French magistrates at his extradition hearing in London.
Alexandre Djouhri is a key figure in the investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.
Speaking to AFP outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Djouhri said: “I’m a grandfather, I’m a father and they deny me the right to exist, and that’s incredible.”
“It’s not French justice, it’s two magistrates who have made a forgery in writing, and I have absolute proof,” he said, naming two French prosecutors.
After several postponements, the extradition hearing began at 1000 GMT with the French state’s presentation. The court’s decision is expected on Thursday.
Djouhri said he expected judge Vanessa Baraitser to “deliver justice,” claiming he was “not a fugitive.”
The 59-year-old businessman was summoned several times by the French courts and arrested at London Heathrow Airport in January 2018 on a European arrest warrant.
French investigators are examining his alleged involvement in the 2009 sale of a villa in the French Alps for around 10 million euros.
A Libyan investment fund managed by ex-chief of staff Bashir Saleh of Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi bought the property at a “very inflated” price, and Djouhri is suspected of being its true owner, a source close to the inquiry has told AFP.
Djouhri was released on bail on health grounds in February after suffering from heart problems.
He underwent surgery earlier this year, a source close to the case previously told AFP.
Djouhri in September called the arrest warrant “fraudulent.”
The businessman must adhere to bail conditions which mean he must stay in his home from 2:00 am to 6:00 am and report to a police station between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 pm.
He must also remain within the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the neighboring City of Westminster district.
Djouhri’s lawyer Mark Summers said the bail conditions were “extremely onerous.”


Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, said California will probably sue President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 19 February 2019
0

Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

  • The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO: Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the Presentment Clause that outlines legislative procedures and the Appropriations Clause, which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds.
The move had been previously announced by Xavier Becerra the attorney general of California who said his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing moneys intended for military projects, disaster assistance and other purposes.
Several Republican senators have decried the emergency declaration, saying it establishes a dangerous precedent and amounts to executive overreach.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
“Use of those additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent in violation of the US Constitution, including the Presentment Clause and Appropriations Clause,” the complaint said.
It added that Trump had “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making.”
“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” the document read.
“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico.
Friday’s declaration enables the president to divert funds from the Pentagon’s military construction budget and other sources.