Chilean Court Again Delays Ruling on Liebermans

Article excerpt

For the fourth time in a month, the Supreme Court has delayed a hearing to determine whether brothers Alan and Harold Lieberman must be returned home to St. Louis to stand trial on fraud charges.

The latest delay occurred Tuesday, when the court announced that business left over from other cases had pushed the Liebermans' case off the day's docket. That means that the court will not hear the matter until at least next Tuesday, said a court official, Mario Gomez Montoya.

American authorities want the Liebermans back in St. Louis to stand trial on charges linked to the collapse of their homebuilding business in 1989 when it was over $15 million in debt. A federal indictment returned in May 1992 accused the brothers of defrauding banks by falsely inflating loan applications. They fled to Chile two days before the indictment was returned in St. Louis. After spending a few weeks in jail in Chile, the Liebermans were put under house arrest. They live in a new apartment building in the city's fashionable Providencia district. Juan Bustos, the Liebermans' lawyer, and Jaime de Larraechea, the Chilean lawyer representing the United States, waited nearly three hours in a hallway at the Supreme Court to argue the extradition case. After the delay was announced, the silver-haired Bustos - short and slightly stooped - and Larraechea - younger and carrying a leather briefcase - walked together down the steps from the court building's second floor and quickly left. Hugo Rivera, a lawyer in Bustos' office, said that no one would discuss the case until after the court makes its ruling. The brothers, who were not in court Tuesday, are the focus of a 4-year-old extradition struggle. Their lawyers have indicated that if they win the extradition case, they will settle in Chile. Both brothers have taken Spanish lessons. The brothers' chance of beating extradition was enhanced Aug. 30 when Servando Jordan, president of the Supreme Court, denied the United States' request that the Liebermans be returned to St. …