Quirky Extradition Laws in Chile Blocked Return

Article excerpt

No one ever accused Harold and Alan Lieberman of being dumb. Criminals, yes, but dumb? Not on your life.

Prosecutors say the brothers certainly did their homework when they picked Chile as their sanctuary from federal fraud charges related to the collapse of their homebuilding business.

The country's chief justice set the stage for Thursday's ruling allowing the brothers to remain in Chile when he ruled last month that the federal charges against the Liebermans weren't even crimes in his country. Blame the decision, experts say, on what international lawyers call the doctrine of dual criminality. It means that a fugitive who flees to another country after committing a crime won't be sent home to stand trial unless the illegal act is a crime in both countries. President Servando Jordan of the Chilean Supreme Court ruled against the U.S. request even though a Chilean prosecutor had recommended that some of the Lieberman's alleged St. Louis activities - such as making phony promissory notes and forging land sales contracts - would also be crimes in Chile. …