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Estonia will not challenge court decision to stop extradition of crypto traders

Kalle Laanet (Reform).
Kalle Laanet (Reform). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The government has decided not to contest the Tallinn Circuit Court decision not to extradite Ivan Turõgin and Sergei Potapenko to the United States, daily Postimees reports.

Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) said the court's November 29 ruling that overturned a government decision to extradite the men, suspected of several offenses, to the U.S. will stand.

"That said, it is still possible to bring new administrative proceedings to remedy the shortcomings the court highlighted. The court pointed out that the government has not sufficiently studied incarceration conditions in U.S. prisons," Laanet said, adding that the ministry has already sent a letter of inquiry to the U.S. and received an answer.

The government decided to extradite Estonian citizens Turõgin and Potapenko on September 7. They are suspected of committing internet fraud and entering into criminal agreements in the United States.

The court found that the government did not do its due diligence when it came to studying incarceration conditions in U.S. prisons where the suspects would likely end up after their extradition. The government also did not analyze whether the extradition would constitute a cumulative infringement of fundamental rights, which would necessitate considering criminal proceedings in Estonia.

The EU and USA signed an extradition agreement in 2003, which Estonia signed in 2006. Over 20 people have been extradited to the U.S. 2016-2023.

The Estonian Central Criminal Police and the FBI detained Potapenko and Turõgin on suspicions of fraud and money laundering last November. According to the suspicions, their actions caused damages of €575 million.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

Source: Postimees

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