Italian Extradited to Florida Via Germany Loses Bias Claim

(CN) – Germany may bar the extradition of its citizens but it did not break the law in delivering an Italian to the United States for prosecution, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.

Romano Pisciotti brought the underlying case for damages in Berlin after serving a two-year sentence in Florida for antitrust violations.

As explained in a Justice Department statement on the case, Pisciotti was a former executive with the Italian marine hose manufacturer Parker ITR Srl.

Such hoses are used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities, and U.S. prosecutors claimed in a one-count felony indictment that Pisciotti’s price-fixing activities ultimately affected the prices hundreds of millions of dollars in sales of marine hose and related products sold worldwide.

One June 17, 2013, Pisciotti had been flying from Nigeria to Italy when his flight made a stopover at the Frankfurt am Main airport where German authorities promptly had him arrested and turned over to the United States for what became the first successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge.

Pisciotti ultimately pleaded guilty and faced a $50,000 fine in addition to his prison sentence. Upon his release in 2014, he claimed that Germany discriminated against him on the grounds of nationality, since it wouldn’t have deported one of its own citizens in the same scenario.

The regional court in Berlin subsequently invited the Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, to weigh in.

On Tuesday the Luxembourg-based court’s grand chamber found that EU law did not preclude Pisciotti’s extradition.

In the case at hand, the ruling states, Germany was appropriately diligent in apprising the Italian consulate about Pisciotti’s situation before granting the extradition.

Since Italy did not issue a European arrest warrant to bring Pisciotti home, his extradition was proper, the court found.

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