By Andrius Sytas
VILNIUS (Reuters) – A Lithuanian judge said she wants more information from the United States before ruling on whether to extradite a Lithuanian national accused of swindling two U.S.-based Internet companies out of more than $100 million through an email fraud scheme.
Lithuanian Evaldas Rimasauskas has been in custody since April at the request of U.S. prosecutors. He denies the allegations and is fighting extradition, his lawyer told Reuters.
“The court told the prosecution to ask (the U.S.) to amend its request,” the judge, Aiva Surviliene, told reporters after a closed hearing on Thursday.
The court wants to be provided with a detailed list of charges against Rimasauskas and evidence to support them, and gave the prosecution two months to comply, a spokeswoman for the court said.
The United States will also be required to provide a proper translation of the extradition request into Lithuanian and to detail the penalties Rimasauskas could face if extradited, she said.
According to a U.S. indictment made public in March, he is charged with wire fraud and money laundering, which each carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and identify theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years.
But his lawyer Linas Kuprusevicius told reporters the translation provided by the U.S. side was so bad the judge could not understand whether he might face the death penalty.
Lithuania, which does not have capital punishment, does not extradite people to the United States if they risk execution.
Rimasauskas’ alleged scheme involved sending emails to employees of the two U.S. companies asking them to wire money that they actually owed to an Asian vendor to the accounts of companies in Latvia and Cyprus. The companies carried the same name as the vendor but were controlled by Rimasauskas.
In a statement to Reuters, Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc confirmed its name was used as part of the fraud scheme, but said it “did not suffer any financial harm”.
(Reporting by Andrius Sytas; Editing by Simon Johnson and Mark Trevelyan)