U.S. Asks Swiss To Extradite Khashoggi
BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ The United States today asked Switzerland to extradite financier Adnan Khashoggi to face racketeering and other charges related to alleged thefts from the Philippine government by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.
The Swiss Federal Police Office received the 243-page extradition request today and was studying it, a Justice Ministry statement said.
Khashoggi, 54, a Saudi financier and arms dealer, has been imprisoned in Bern since he was arrested April 18 at the request of the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. indictments charge Khashoggi, a jet-setter once reputed to be among the world’s richest men, with helping former Philippines President Marcos and his wife, Imelda, hide the purchase of more than $100 million dollars in real estate and art allegedly acquired with money stolen from the Philippine Treasury.
Khashoggi, a friend of Marcos, is accused of posing as owner of the assets.
There was no comment from Khashoggi’s Swiss lawyer, Ralph Zloczower, on the extradition request. A woman identifying herself as his secretary answered the phone at the lawyer’s office and said he had no statement.
Khashoggi’s attorneys said after his arrest that they would fight extradition.
The charges cited in the U.S. extradition request were not detailed by the Justice Ministry. They must be criminal offenses under Swiss law for Bern to consider extradition.
Assuming Swiss authorities do not dismiss the request, Khashoggi will be granted a hearing, the statement said.
If Switzerland grants extradition, Khashoggi can appeal the decision to the Swiss supreme court, the Federal Tribunal.
He could be extradited ″within five to 10 days″ if he does not appeal, the ministry said.
Khashoggi, known for big deals and an alleged central role in the Iran- Contra affair, is charged in the United States with racketeering, obstruction of justice and mail fraud. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The indictments alleging cover-up of the Marcos-controlled assets name the Marcoses, Khashoggi, five other people and a California bank.
A U.S. note that touched off Khashoggi’s arrest at a Bern hotel cited four buildings in Manhattan and a collection of paintings that disappeared from a Manila museum.
Khashoggi allegedly bought them for Marcos as part of ″obfuscation maneuvers″ during the ex-president’s 20-year rule in the Philippines, Swiss officials said.
The Philippine government claims that after the Marcoses went into exile in Hawaii in 1986, their agents and Khashoggi carted away 25 paintings from New York properties owned by the Marcoses. The action allegedly came after a California federal judge froze the Marcoses’ property.
Khashoggi allegedly sold 12 paintings for $3.2 million.
He was indicted in the Marcos case in October in New York.
A U.S. district issued an arrest warrant for Khashoggi on March 24, according to the Swiss.
Khashoggi became known for a flamboyant lifestyle and business talent before reportedly hitting financial straits in recent years.
He figured in several kickback scandals where U.S. aircraft manufacturers paid him for arranging billion-dollar defense contracts. He reputedly was the main financier and broker in the Iran-Contra affair, where proceeds from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran were funneled to rebels fighting Nicaragua’s government.
Under a U.S.-Swiss treaty, U.S. authorities had 60 days after Khashoggi’s arrest to file a full extradition request to elaborate on charges cited in the embassy’s initial note.