The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel warning telling Russians to refrain from trips abroad, especially to countries that have extradition treaties with the United States.

Maxim Chukharev
Maxim Chukharev

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington alluded to “several examples” of these kinds of actions by the U.S., including Maksim Chuharev, who was extradited to the U.S. from Costa Rica in March to face charges of helping to operate a $6 billion money laundering scheme. (Liberty Reserve)

According to Russian government-owned television outlet, Russia Today (RT), the Foreign Ministry said Chuharev’s “extradition was carried out with serious procedural deviations and in violation of generally accepted international rules.”

“Without any reasons the U.S. administration is refusing to recognize the reunification between Russia and Crimea that fully meets the international legal standards and the U.N. charter,” according to a statement on the ministry’s website. “It tries to make a routine practice out of hunting for Russian citizens in third countries with subsequent extradition and conviction in the US, usually over dubious charges.”

The statement went on to cite Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout -two convicted criminals – as examples of Russian citizens who have had this happen to them. Yaroshenko was arrested in May of 2010 in Monrovia, Liberia, and was convicted of smuggling “thousand-kilogram quantities of cocaine,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.  Liberian officials turned him over to DEA officials two days after his arrest.

“While he was in DEA custody, the DEA followed the rules of law and the Geneva Convention regulations regarding treatment of a defendant,” read a statement on the DEA website.

At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the extradition a “kidnapping.”

“Two cases don’t become a pattern, and it’s not like we’re going after Russians,” he said. “If they’re organized criminals, we’re going to extradite them.”


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