Carlos Wanzeler loses citizenship appeal, extradition next
Carlos Wanzeler has lost his citizenship appeal, finally paving the way for extradition to the US.
Wanzeler (right) is wanted in the US, over his co-ownership of the $3 billion dollar TelexFree Ponzi scheme.
Wanzeler and his partner James Merrill were indicted on fraud and conspiracy charges in July 2014.
Rather than face justice, Wanzeler fled the US before authorities could arrest him.
Merrill was sentenced to six years in prison in 2017.
Brazil doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US, so Wanzeler has been hiding out there as a fugitive for the past six years.
Attempts to bring Wanzeler to justice have focused on his dual US Brazil citizenship.
Following a lengthy investigation, in February 2018 the Ministry of Justice revoked Wanzeler’s Brazilian citizenship.
Desperate to overturn the decision, Wanzeler appealed to the Supreme Court.
That appeal was denied in April 2019, prompting Brazilian media to report he could now be deported “at any time”.
Turns out Wanzeler still had one more option open to him, the Supreme Federal Court (yeah, I don’t understand Brazil’s court system either).
An appeal was filed there (or passed up from the regular Supreme Court?), and a decision reached on Tuesday the 18th.
According to a report from Globo,
the decision opens the way for the STF to judge an extradition request made by the United States, where (Wanzeler) is the subject of an arrest warrant.
There is no date for the extradition judgment in the Supreme Court.
So as I understand it, Wanzeler’s Brazilian citizenship has now been finally revoked. That’s done, no more appeals – buh-bye.
What the Supreme Court (federal, regular, who knows) will now decide, is the formal extradition request tendered by the DOJ.
In Brazil, Wanzeler is currently facing 11,000 civil lawsuits, fifteen criminal lawsuits and a public civil action – all related to TelexFree.
Whether that will factor into the Supreme Court’s extradition decision remains to be seen.
One would hope not, as after six years it’s pretty obvious if Wanzeler is going to face any justice at all, it will have to be in the US.
Update 22nd February 2020 – Wasting no time whatsoever, Brazilian authorities arrested Wanzeler on Thursday.
Ex-sócio da Telexfree é preso pela Polícia Federal no Rio de Janeiro (PT-BR)