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Australia approves extradition request for former U.S. Marines pilot over China military training


SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia has approved a request to extradite former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan to the United States where he faces charges of money laundering and breaking U.S. arms control laws, the Attorney-General’s Department said on Thursday.

Duggan, who was arrested in Australia in October and remains in custody, is accused of breaking U.S. arms control laws by training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers, according to a 2017 indictment unsealed by a U.S. court in December.

Australia received an extradition request from the United States for Duggan on Dec. 9, said the Attorney-General’s Department, and was required to make a decision by Dec. 25 as to whether to formally accept the extradition request.

“The Attorney-General has complied with this requirement, and Mr Duggan’s lawyer has been informed of that decision,” the Department said in a statement to Reuters.

That indicates the Attorney-General is of the opinion that Duggan is an extraditable person to the United States, according to Australia’s Extradition Act 1988.

The extradition matter is next listed before a New South Wales state magistrate on Jan. 10, the Attorney-General’s Department said.

Duggan’s lawyer Dennis Miralis was not available for comment. Miralis has said Duggan was an Australian citizen who renounced his U.S. citizenship and denies breaking any law.

The 2017 indictment says “Duggan provided military training to PRC (People’s Republic of China) pilots” through a South African flight school on three occasions in 2010 and 2012, while he was a U.S. citizen.

The violations he is accused of also include providing aviation services in China, evaluating Chinese military pilot trainees, and instruction in landing on aircraft carriers.

He faces four U.S. charges, including conspiracy to export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money, and violating the Arms Export Control Act.