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HomeBusinessJudge allows new evidence into extradition case for ex-Mexican general 

Judge allows new evidence into extradition case for ex-Mexican general 

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Bob Mackin

Lawyers for the former Mexican general who fled to B.C. four years ago will be allowed to present evidence that could cast doubt on the Mexican government’s extradition case. 

Eduardo Leon Trauwitz, 56, was arrested in December 2021 and freed on bail conditions in March 2022. The Mexican government wants Canada to return Trauwitz to face trial on organized crime and fuel theft charges. It alleges that Trauwitz, while working as head of security for state oil company Pemex, facilitated theft of 1.87 billion litres of hydrocarbons from clandestine taps in Pemex pipelines.

B.C.-arrested Eduardo Leon Trauwitz

Trauwitz’s lawyers asked to submit a three-page typewritten statement from March 2020 in which former Pemex worker Moises Angel Merlin Sibaja expressed concern that his version of events had been distorted and words were put in his mouth “with apparent political motives.”

Sibaja originally told Mexican prosecutors in February 2017 and January 2019 that he was among workers threatened with firing if they did not follow orders from Trauwitz and four other public officials about a new December 2015 procedure to neutralize and not report clandestine taps.

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes gave the defence more time to correct deficiencies in its application. On Oct. 19, she deemed some, but not all, of Sibaja’s statement admissible to the extradition hearing. 

The defence had included 2023 letters from a lawyer and notary that were involved in taking and verifying Sibaja’s 2020 statement, and a new and notarized August written statement by Sibaja. 

“The 2023 statement covers most of the same ground as the 2020 statement, but also includes a notary’s certification, including of Mr. Sibaja’s identity as the maker of the statement,” Holmes wrote in her decision. “The notary’s certification in turn also provides information about the process by which the notary received Mr. Sibaja’s declaration. This contrasts with the 2020 statement in the version proposed for admission, which did not include similar details in the English translation.”

Trauwitz’s lawyer told the court in December 2021 that he had been the victim of a politically motivated prosecution.  

“Mr. Trauwitz was the one who was trying to stop hydrocarbon theft and his actions actually prohibited other corrupt individuals from engaging in carbon theft,” Tom Arbogast said.

In May, the court approved Trauwitz’s move from Surrey to the Burquitlam area of Coquitlam. 

Trauwitz’s original bail conditions included a $20,000 surety, requirement to live with his daughter, an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, around the clock wearing of an electronic monitoring device and regular reporting to a probation officer.

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