AG requests urgent re-arrest of man wanted by the US until extradition proceedings conclude

Frank Salvatore Rafaraci is wanted in the US for allegations of bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering

A judge will tomorrow hear an urgent request for the rearrest of a man who, just yesterday, successfully contested the validity of his arrest, tied to a request for his extradition to the United States.

The Office of the Attorney General has filed an urgent application for the re-arrest Frank Salvatore Rafaraci, a 68 year-old Italian-American man, who is wanted by the American authorities to answer charges of having defrauded the United States Government out of some €50 million.

Rafaraci is wanted by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for prosecution on the offences of conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The man had been suspected as a participant in a scheme that used falsified invoices and receipts for equipment and supplies provided to the US Navy.   

The man is also alleged to have paid a US government official tens of thousands of euros in cash bribes in exchange for insider information on future Navy contracts.  

US authorities believe the man and his known associates then laundered illicit funds using shell companies, evading millions of dollars in US taxes.

In the urgent application filed on Tuesday, the Attorney General argued that the criminal complaint filed and sworn by Special Agent Cordell de La Pena before the US district court amounted to a document charging Rafaraci with crimes of a very serious nature in the US. This document was also supplemented by an arrest warrant issued by the same US court and an official request for the man’s arrest by the US Department of justice, pointed out the public prosecutor’s application.

The AG said that he was “perplexed by the Court’s decision to release the requested person from custody simply because the charge sheet is described under US law as being a ‘Criminal Complaint.’”

A proviso to the law obliged the court to order that, notwithstanding its order discharging him from arrest, Rafaraci must remain in custody until the expiration of 3 working days from the court’s order and until any appeal by the Attorney General is concluded, argued the AG.

Rafaraci was “now effectively free to flee the Maltese Islands without having actually gone through an extradition hearing,” argued the AG, submitting that the magistrate had “completely disregarded the dispositions” of the proviso.

The AG requested the court order that Rafaraci is arrested again. 

Mr. Justice Aaron Bugeja will preside the case tomorrow.

READ ALSOArrest of man wanted in US over €50 million fraud declared invalid by court