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First Extradition to US From Kosovo Under Treaty Is Ymer Shahini on 2015 Securities Fraud Charges

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 26 – Ymer Shahini, a national of Kosovo and Canada, was indicted for security fraud in 2015. On August 23, 2019 he was brought into Magistrates Court in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the first person extradited to the US from Kosovo under a new treaty between the two countries.  

The underlying indictment describes how the stock price of Gerova Financial Group was manipulated leading to some $20 million in ill-gotten gains. Members of the Galanis family pleaded guilty; Gavin Hamels got a so-called 5K1.1 cooperation letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office. That was in 2017.   

Of the co-defendants, only Ymer Shahini's case remained open. The US - Kosovo Extradition Treaty, Treaty Doc. 115-2, 115th Congress, 1st Session, entered into force on June 13, 2019.    

On August 23, Inner City Press was covering another case in the SDNY Magistrates Court when there was discussion of an extradition, that would result in a presentment at 5:30 pm. Inner City Press returned at that time. Shahini was assigned a Criminal Justice Act lawyer, who said that Shahini has not had paid employment since 2015.   

Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, who to his credit directed that the case number be read out loud, said "Someone has retained counsel on your behalf."   

Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Espinosa, who provided the year of the case since Inner City Press had not initially realized how far back it went, Shahini will next appear before District Judge P. Kevin Castel who has handled the case from the beginning. It is US v. Galanis, 15-cr-643 (PKC).  Inner City Press will stay on this case - watch this site.

 Back on June 26 Vivian Wang, who as money manager for convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng's South South News made payments to disgraced President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, was given a time served sentence by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels.

   Wang's lawyers at Goodwin Proctor, in a heavily redacted sentencing submission, stated that her deceased husband Forest Cao "was 57 years old adn had no known health problems of medical conditions. No autopsy was performed."

 It also says, as to UN President of the General Assembly John Ashe, that while awaiting trial on UN bribery charges "his death was reported as the result of a 'weightlifting accident' after a barbell apparently crushed his throat."

  After the sentencing, Inner City Press with covered the Ng Lap Seng trial before SDNY Judge Vernon Broderick daily asked Wang's lawyer Derek A. Cohen if he was implying that Forest Cao and John Ashe were killed, and why he had so heavily redacted this sentencing submission.

 "It speaks for itself," Cohen said by the elevators. Likewise the Assistant U.S. Attorney on the case Daniel C. Richenthal declined Inner City Press' question about who beyond Ng Lap Seng Ms. Wang had cooperated against.

 Judge Daniels did not preside over the trial of Ng Lap Seng. He accepted the government's recommendation of time served with very little inquiry.

  He said as if by rote that corruption of the UN is a serious matter. But if so, why should a person who paid bribes in the UN get such a light sentence with little public showing of the benefit of their cooperation?

   Corruption has continued at the UN since the prosecution of Ng Lap Seng, resulting in his four year prison sentence. A second, separately prosecution was brought against Patrick Ho of CEFC China Energy, an entity which also tried to buy the oil company of Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation which employed current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as a compensated board member.

  Neither in the Ho nor Ng Lap Seng cases where any of the UN Secretariat officials implicated in the bribery schemes prosecuted.

  This laxity can be contrasted with another SDNY proceeding a mere hour later, in which Judge P. Kevin Castel looked behind the U.S. Attorney's Office's 5k1.1 cooperation letters and imposed jail time on the four siblings, the Seggermans, who evaded taxes. That underlying case was USA v. Little, 12-cr-647 (Castel). This bifurcated case is USA v. Wang, 16-cr-495 (Daniels).

 Vivi Wang helped bribe the UN, and on June 26 she got a time served sentence for undefined cooperation. Judge Castel looked behind the government's 5K1.1 letter but Judge Daniels did not. And the UN continues corrupt. Inner City Press will have more, much more, on this.


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