Mokbel vows extradition fight


Summary

Mokbel appeared before a public prosecutor in Athens yesterday, where he was asked whether he agreed to extradition procedures being brought against him by Australian police.

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His lawyer, Yiannis Vlachos, said his client did not agree.

Under extradition regulations, the process can be sped up if the suspect agrees.

If the request is refused, a court can review the case and order the suspect to comply.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) last night said Mokbel had been served with a provisional arrest warrant, marking the start of the formal process to extradite him.

An AFP spokesman said the warrant was based on four outstanding Australian-based warrants.

Drugs charges dominate

Those warrants are for charges relating to the importation of 2.9kg of cocaine in March last year, two counts of incitement to commit an offence relating to the ordering of 100kg of amphetamine and 200 litres of a substance from Europe in October 2005, three counts of trafficking drugs and one of the murder of underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

Mokbel, a 41-year-old convicted drug trafficker, was arrested at a cafe in the upmarket Athens suburb of Glyfada on Tuesday, bringing to an end 15 months on the run.

He had been living the high life in the affluent seaside area, renting a double storey apartment for 2,000 euro ($A3,216) a month.

Australian authorities want him to return and serve out a minimum nine-year jail sentence for cocaine trafficking.

They also want him to face court charged with the 2004 murder of Melbourne underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

Parallels with Skase case

Legal experts are saying Mokbel could use the infamous case of Christopher Skase, to delay attempts to bring him back to Australia for years.

Don Rothwell from the Australian National University says it all depends on how Mokbel chooses to respond.

Mokbel has already declared he will resist the Australian government’s extradition application, claiming there’s a conspiracy against him.

Professor Rothwell says the Skase case proved if there’s a capacity to prolong the initial hearing the extradition could be dragged out for years.

Skase fled Australia in 1991 after he was charged following the collapse of his Qintex company and was discovered several years later living on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Several extradition attempts by the Australian government failed, with Skase successfully arguing he was unable to travel due to a life-threatening lung condition.

He died on the island of stomach cancer in 2001.


Mokbel appeared before a public prosecutor in Athens yesterday, where he was asked whether he agreed to extradition procedures being brought against him by Australian police.

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His lawyer, Yiannis Vlachos, said his client did not agree.

Under extradition regulations, the process can be sped up if the suspect agrees.

If the request is refused, a court can review the case and order the suspect to comply.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) last night said Mokbel had been served with a provisional arrest warrant, marking the start of the formal process to extradite him.

An AFP spokesman said the warrant was based on four outstanding Australian-based warrants.

Drugs charges dominate

Those warrants are for charges relating to the importation of 2.9kg of cocaine in March last year, two counts of incitement to commit an offence relating to the ordering of 100kg of amphetamine and 200 litres of a substance from Europe in October 2005, three counts of trafficking drugs and one of the murder of underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

Mokbel, a 41-year-old convicted drug trafficker, was arrested at a cafe in the upmarket Athens suburb of Glyfada on Tuesday, bringing to an end 15 months on the run.

He had been living the high life in the affluent seaside area, renting a double storey apartment for 2,000 euro ($A3,216) a month.

Australian authorities want him to return and serve out a minimum nine-year jail sentence for cocaine trafficking.

They also want him to face court charged with the 2004 murder of Melbourne underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

Parallels with Skase case

Legal experts are saying Mokbel could use the infamous case of Christopher Skase, to delay attempts to bring him back to Australia for years.

Don Rothwell from the Australian National University says it all depends on how Mokbel chooses to respond.

Mokbel has already declared he will resist the Australian government’s extradition application, claiming there’s a conspiracy against him.

Professor Rothwell says the Skase case proved if there’s a capacity to prolong the initial hearing the extradition could be dragged out for years.

Skase fled Australia in 1991 after he was charged following the collapse of his Qintex company and was discovered several years later living on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Several extradition attempts by the Australian government failed, with Skase successfully arguing he was unable to travel due to a life-threatening lung condition.

He died on the island of stomach cancer in 2001.