EXCLUSIVE: Ukraine wants to extradite this alleged criminal from UK despite ongoing Russian invasion
UKRAINIAN prosecutors are trying to extradite an alleged criminal from the UK despite the ongoing Russian invasion.
Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the Ukrainian national, 31, (seen above in an edited image from a Ukrainian wanted alert) is sought for allegedly scamming banks there more than ten years ago.
He is wanted in connection with a conspiracy to defraud branches of the PJSC CV Pryvat Bank in the city of Ivano-Frakivsk between June 22 and June 27 2011.
A gang he is suspected of being part of allegedly used skimming devices to carry out the frauds. But, District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed concerns at how the extradition case could proceed with the war continuing and said there had been no indication Ukraine wanted to suspend the proceedings.
The court heard the man, who we are not naming for legal reasons, is also facing a domestic burglary charge in the UK in July, which further complicated the extradition process. Richard Evans, representing Ukraine for the CPS, said the judicial authority had said, if extradited, he would be held in a part of the country not under attack. Judge Goldspring said there was an ever changing picture which made that difficult to guarantee. He said: "(The domestic matter) gives time for further instructions from Ukraine as the picture changes. "Part of the problem, the very difficult situation we have with cases like this, is we have to decide the situation on that day, not today and not next week. "I invite the judicial authority, with the ever changing picture, to be asked every fortnight is the position the same as it said it was last time? If Ukraine has not got anywhere he can return to, we don't want to wait until July to find out." At a hearing on March 25, the man, from north-west London, who is opposing extradition, pleaded with the judge to release him on bail so he can help fellow countrymen with humanitarian aid efforts from the UK. He was arrested by the Met Police in September and remanded into custody due to having no immigration status in the UK, giving a false name upon arrest and having access to false documents. There had been a number of hearings at Westminster prior to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which began in February. The court heard he had made three earlier bail applications, all which were refused, and unsuccessfully tried to reverse those decisions at the High Court. At the latest hearing his lawyer argued he should be released to focus on humanitarian efforts to help those displaced by the war. She said: "The situation of the conflict makes the argument advanced particularly stronger as he has a new reason to stay in one place and to try and do some good. "His mind would not be on fleeing, but directing his efforts to try to advance a positive good from the UK. "There are humanitarian efforts he can get involved in which would make it less likely for him to commit an offence." Judge Goldspring said he sympathised with his urge to help fellow Ukrainians, but that he did not see it as a fresh ground for a new bail application after he had already exhausted the process. He said: "You want to put yourself to good use to those left in Ukraine. I sympathise, but the invasion is not a sufficient nexus (with the Bail Act) to allow a further application "Judges have to put aside their personal beliefs and any sympathies they have for the difficult situation you find yourself in and dispassionately apply the law. "In doing so that is what the law dictates I must do." He refused to allow a further bail application and said he also had to remain in custody because of the domestic charge he faces. The extradition hearing was adjourned until July, after the next domestic crown court hearing.
The Ukrainian Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.