Judge Approves Extradition German Tycoon
MIAMI (AP) _ A federal magistrate Wednesday approved the extradition of tycoon Juergen Schneider to Germany to face charges he fleeced creditors of $3.6 billion in his country’s biggest postwar real estate scandal.
U.S. Magistrate William Turnoff said he will sign an order in a week to extradite Schneider and his wife, Claudia.
Defense attorney Michael Lacher said he will appeal.
Schneider, 61, and his wife Claudia, 50, have been jailed in Miami since they were arrested in May while living under assumed names at a Hollywood beachfront condominium.
Schneider, one of the biggest landowners in Europe, faces bankruptcy fraud and forgery charges in Germany for leaving behind $3.6 billion in debt when he fled the country in 1994.
Authorities contend Schneider obtained loans to buy some of Germany’s oldest and most prestigious real estate by overvaluing his property and using front companies.
Prosecutors say he also falsified occupancy rates and other specifications. And they say he and his wife secretly transferred almost $200 million to Switzerland.
Lacher argued that Schneider was victimized by overzealous creditors who forced a ``contrived bankruptcy″ while Schneider and his wife were on vacation. And the lawyer said the $200 million transfer was no crime.
But the judge said: ``This is not the trial of the Schneiders. That is a matter for Germany.″