Court Gives Atong Ang August 4th Deadline

Article excerpt

Byline: JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

CHICAGO, Illinois Filipino businessman Charlie Atong T. Ang has until August 4 to submit a brief on such technical treaty issues as dual criminality and legality of wiretapped evidence being introduced into US court.

United States District Court Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leavitt also gave the Philippine government, represented by the US government, during the July 14 hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada three weeks to respond to Mr. Angs brief after which Judge Leavitt will hand down his ruling.

Karen C. Winckler, one of Mr. Angs lawyers, said in a long-distance phone interview that if the court determines that there is no dual criminality in the case, the extradition case will be dismissed.

Under Article 2.1 of the Extradition Treaty Between the US and the Philippines, dual criminality exists where an offense is punishable under the laws in both Contracting States by deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year, or by a more severe penalty.

Along with detained President Estrada, Ang, 44, is facing plunder charges, which is punishable by death. Ang is accused of funneling R130 million (US$2.5-M) tobacco tax kickbacks and illegal gambling payoffs to Mr. Estrada. Ang spent a year in U.S. custody in North Las Vegas jail before being placed under house arrest on a US$300,000 bail.

Article 5.1 of the treaty says that (w)hen the offense for which extradition is requested is punishable by death under the laws of the Requesting State, and the laws in the Requested State do not permit such punishment for that offense, extradition may be refused unless the Requesting State provides such assurances as the Requested State considers sufficient that if the death penalty is imposed, it will not be carried out. …