The Austrian judiciary has accepted an appeal by the United States for the extradition of Turkish citizen Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a shady businessman with government contacts who is accused of money laundering.
While the Austrian court, who earlier also responded positively to Turkey’s extradition request in the same case has now accepted the US appeal as well, the Austrian ministry of justice will now decide which country Korkmaz will be extradited to, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.
Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a businessman who had been accused of money laundering in Turkey, fled the country in December 2020, a very short time after a warrant for his arrest was issued. There was previously an investigation into his activities and a similar legal case was opened in the US. He was consequently arrested in Austria, on an appeal by the US Department of Justice on July 19 2021.
One of the most influential crime bosses in Turkey, Sedat Peker, earlier claimed that Süleyman Soylu, the Turkish minister of the interior, had warned Korkmaz and enabled his timely escape by saying to him, ‘There is an arrest warrant for you, leave the country.’
Peker, who turned rogue after he had lost favour of the Ankara administration, also created a big controversy by claiming that he has video footage of a meeting between Korkmaz and Soylu, taken in the Ministry of the Interior.
In the US, Korkmaz is being charged with ‘money laundering’, ‘illegal money transfer’ and ‘intervention in judicial processes’.
While the Austrian court, after considering the additional documents provided by the US, decided that the US appeal was in accordance with the Austrian Extradition Law, it will be the Austrian ministry of justice who will decide which country Korkmaz will be extradited to.
The ministry is expected to make this decision during the first week of February.