In a letter asking for another sentencing delay for a potential witness against Viktor Kozeny, the DOJ has said the U.K. Privy Council accepted jurisdiction over Kozeny’s extradition from the Bahamas and could decide the case this year.
In a December 3 letter to Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, AUSA Harry Chernoff asked for a six-month delay in the sentencing of Clayton Lewis. The judge reset Lewis’ hearing to August 4, 2011.
Chernoff’s letter said on December 17 last year, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, “the court of last resort for questions of Bahamian law, issued permission to appeal to the Government of the Bahamas, a permission which is discretionary and which we understand to be an analogue to a writ of certiorari.” In the letter, Chernoff said the Bahamas government “is hopeful that the Judicial Committee will hear and decide this case this year.”
Kozeny has been a fugitive in the Bahamas for more than ten years. He was arrested there at the request of the U.S. government in October 2005 and held in prison until granted bail in April 2007. Last year, he won an appellate decision to block his extradition. The Bahamas government is appealing that decision to the London-based Privy Council. If the Privy Council reverses the Bahamas appellate court, Kozeny is likely to be extradited quickly to the United States to face trial.
He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan in May 2005 for a plot to bribe Azeri leaders to gain control of the state oil company. His co-defendant, Frederic Bourke, was convicted in July of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and lying to FBI agents. Bourke was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. His appeal is pending.
Clayton Lewis was a partner in Omega Advisors, Inc., a hedge fund that invested and lost about $126 million in Kozeny’s Azeri privatization scheme. Lewis, prosecutors said, knew Kozeny planned to pay bribes but went ahead with the investment anyway. He was arrested in 2003 and two years later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.
Hans Bodmer — a Swiss lawyer who worked for Kozeny and another potential witness against him — was scheduled to be sentenced last week, but it didn’t happen. He pleaded guilty in October 2004 to conspiracy to launder money. His new sentencing date hasn’t shown up in the court records on Pacer and his lawyer hasn’t responded to our question.
Download a copy of the DOJ’s February 3, 2011 endorsed letter to Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in US v. Lewis here.