23 April, 2024

UAE-Based Scammer’s Extradition to the US Evokes Questions on UAE’s Non-Extradition Status

19 Jul, 2023

21 Nov, 2023

A prominent business development and marketing executive Adam Cochran recently shared a Twitter thread raising questions on the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) status as a non-extradition country, reflecting on the UAE-based crypto scammer Mr. Woodbery’s extradition to the US. Cochran asserted that though UAE is believed to be “fully non-extradition due to no treaty”, the nation uses a “case-by-case review system”.

The US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) press release on July 17, 2023, shed insights on the “international cyber fraudster” Jacob Olalekan Ponle aka Mr. Woodbery, who stole millions in 2019 when he was living in the UAE.  He allegedly orchestrated fraudulent business email compromise schemes, gaining unauthorized access to email accounts and instructing employees of the victim companies to transfer money to bank accounts linked to Ponle. Following the transfer, Ponle managed to convert the fund to Bitcoins with the help of money mules.

As per the statement, though Ponle was arrested in 2019, it was only in 2023, he pleaded guilty. Later, on July 11, 2023, he was sentenced to imprisonment in the US. The press release read:

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman on July 11, 2023, sentenced Ponle to eight years and four months in federal prison.  Ponle was ordered to pay more than $8.03 million in restitution to the victim companies and forfeit numerous luxury items purchased with proceeds traceable to the fraud scheme.

As a response to Ponle’s extradition to the US, Cochran commented on the novelty of the incident, pointing out that there hadn’t been any such extraditions that he witnessed in UAE.

Further, the executive stressed that Dubai has been engaged and invested in establishing a crypto hub over the past few months. He added, “It’s no surprise that they are going to want to start clamping down on stuff they see as shady”.


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