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New York federal prosecutors admitted to telling a ‘flat lie’ about evidence in sanctions case

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Federal prosecutors in New York admitted to telling a “flat lie” about evidence in order to win a case against a businessman accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to reports.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) attempted to block the release of evidence following a ruling last week by the U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Judge Nathan urged the Justice Department to open an internal probe into possible misconduct by prosecutors in the terrorism and international narcotics unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY.

Judge Nathan said the prosecutors made a “deliberate attempt to obscure” the truth and attempted to “bury” a key document that might have helped the defense.

Nathan’s push for a probe granted the Associated Press access to unsealed documents. At the request of the AP, dozens of private text messages, transcripts and correspondences were unsealed Monday and prosecutors were ordered to explain themselves.

The newly disclosed records showed prosecutors discussing turning over records to the defense team for Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, who was charged in 2018 with money laundering, bank fraud and violating U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran by funneling $115 million through Venezuelan front companies.

Sadr was found guilty by jurors and was convicted in March 2020, facing a maximum of 125 years in prison. However, prosecutors in the SDNY filed a motion to withdraw the conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct, and all charges were dropped.

According to the AP, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Kim, wanted to introduce a bank record as evidence, but realized the document had not been shared with Sadr’s attorneys.

Kim suggested turning it over immediately to the defense, however, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Lake, recommended they “wait until tomorrow and bury it in some other documents.”

After Sadr’s lawyers discovered the document, they complained to prosecutors.

The prosecutors came up with an excuse, saying they believed the document had already been turned over in a previous batch of records.

The prosecutors’ supervisors, Emil Bove and Shawn Crowley, then got involved, according to court records, and in an exchange of text messages, Bove admitted the prosecutors’ excuse was a “flat lie.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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