Johann Steynberg is currently being held in Brazil. A lawyer suggested that South Africa might have to use an existing legal aid agreement with Brazil in order to extradite the CEO. The success or failure of such extradition depends on what Brazil’s authorities do next.
Steynberg extradition options
Lawyer Darren Hanekom confirmed that South Africa has a bilateral legal assistance agreement. This was after Johann Steynberg (CEO of Mirror Trading International) was captured by Brazilian authorities. According to the lawyer, the unsigned agreement could possibly be used to help facilitate Steynberg’s extradition to South Africa, home to many investors in MTI.
Hanekom revealed this in an interview with Moneyweb. He also said that there is a similar agreement between the United States and Brazil, which permits Steynberg to be held in detention for as long as 90 days. According to the lawyer, during this period two court hearings are likely to be held, one that relates to Steynberg’s application for bail and another one for his extradition.
As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, Steynberg was arrested by a unit within the Brazilian military police after it received information that the fugitive CEO — who is wanted by the FBI — was using a fake identity document. Brazilian police announced immediately that Steynberg would stand trial for the use of the false document.
False Document Infraction
Hanekom also suggested, during interview, that Brazilian authorities might consider prosecuting Hanekom for crimes committed in Brazil. He explained:
Media reports indicate that the man was taken into custody for planning to falsify passport documents. I think there’s also mention of credit cards. The conclusion is that this could well also be a Brazilian offence, meaning that Brazilian authorities may decide to not extradite Steynberg, but instead, prosecute Steynberg in Brazil.
After disappearing with investors’ bitcoins in late December 2020, Steynberg reportedly went on to acquire a private jet plus several expensive cars. Steynberg, a married executive, also had a relationship with an unknown woman to whom he lavished expensive gifts. Some victims of the MTI Ponzi scheme have been eager for Steynberg to be prosecuted in South Africa since details about his lifestyle emerged in Brazil.
Yet as Hanekom explains, Steynberg is likely to be extradited to the United States if the South African government remains a “passive bystander.” Should this happen, then the chances for those based outside the U.S. recovering their funds will depend on countries like South Africa triggering “the mutual legal-assistance treaty provisions that it has with the United States.”
Johann Steynberg should be extradited from South Africa. Please comment below to let us know your thoughts.
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