Mon, May 17, 2021
Attorney Peter Karam, who is seeking to avoid being extradited to Argentina, has agreed to appear before a judge in that South America country in connection with a multi-million dollar money laundering investigation.
Karam, a former partner in the law firm Karam &Missick, is on $1.2million bail from the court in Argentina, which is secured by an insurance bond.
During a recent hearing before Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin, it was noted that Karam will appear before the Argentine judge virtually on May 11th, then he will travel there a few days later for a formal hearing, since the Argentinian authorities have original jurisdiction over the matter.
Karam’s lawyer Oliver Smith has argued that there is no longer a need for the extradition process to proceed against Karam and he is seeking to have the proceedings withdrawn.
Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin had previously agreed with submissions from Andrew Mitchell, QC, who appeared for the Attorney General’s Chambers, that extradition proceedings against Karam could have commenced.
However, those extradition proceedings are now on hold, pending the outcome of the hearings in Argentina.
During the hearing before Chief Magistrate Hatmin, Smith had argued that It is incorrect to assert that Karam is the subject of a valid extradition request from Argentina and that what was served on Karam on October 16, 2019 was a judge’s letter rogatory, which is not an extradition request in law. He had also submitted that the Chief Magistrate does not have jurisdiction to commence a hearing, that there is no formal request for extradition, there is no warrant of arrest issued by the Argentine authorities and that he is not charged with a criminal offence.
Karam also contended that he was not named in any indictment or legally recognized charging instrument and it is therefore incorrect to assert that he was an accused person in the Argentina case.
In outlining the facts of the matter, Mitchell QC told Chief Magistrate Hatmin that the request for extradition arose from an investigation and prosecution in Argentina relating to funds from corrupt behaviour being laundered through accounts controlled by Karam for the purpose of taking over companies which owned land, formerly owned by the Crown.