United States District Court, C.D. California
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 18, 2017, Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick entered an
order certifying that Petitioner Lyubomir Mihailov Yordanov
could be extradited to Bulgaria to face trial on charges of
deceit. Case No. 2:16-cv-00170-CAS-E (Doc. 54) (hereinafter,
“Extradition Order”). On March 14, 2017, Yordanov
filed a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Doc. 1. The next day, he filed an ex parte application
to stay extradition proceedings pending resolution of the
habeas petition, and a memorandum in support of the habeas
petition. Docs. 3, 4. The Court granted Yordanov's
petition to stay. Doc. 8. The government filed an opposition
to Yordanov's habeas petition (Doc. 6); Yordanov elected
not to reply. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies
the habeas petition and vacates the stay.
the filing of a sworn complaint by a U.S. attorney, a
magistrate judge may hold an extradition hearing with respect
to any person within his jurisdiction who is charged by a
foreign government of having committed a crime that is
extraditable under a treaty or convention. 18 U.S.C. §
3184; see Santos v. Thomas, 830 F.3d 987, 991 (9th
Cir. 2016). Such a hearing is akin to a grand jury
investigation; its purpose is not to determine guilt, but
merely to determine “whether there is evidence
sufficient to sustain the charge under the provisions of the
proper treaty or convention, or, in other words, whether
there is probable cause.” Santos, 830 F.3d at
991 (quoting Vo v. Benov, 447 F.3d 1235, 1237 (9th
Cir. 2006). “Given the limited nature of extradition
proceedings, neither the Federal Rules of Evidence nor the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure apply.”
Id. at 992. Rather, documents “shall be
received and admitted as evidence” if they are
“properly and legally authenticated so as to entitle
them to be received for similar purposes by the tribunals of
the foreign country from which the accused party shall have
escaped.” 18 U.S.C. § 3190. The fugitive generally
is not permitted to present evidence, unless such evidence
“‘explains away or completely obliterates
probable cause.'” Santos, 830 F.3d at 992
(citation omitted). If, after considering the evidence
presented, the magistrate judge finds probable cause to
extradite, he must issue a certification of
extraditability. 18 U.S.C. § 3184.
relevant treaty in this case is the Extradition Treaty
Between the Government of the United States of America and
the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria, Case No.
2:16-cv-00170-CAS-E (Doc. 10 at 26-46) (“Extradition
Treaty”). It provides generally for the extradition of
an individual charged with an offense that is
“punishable under the laws in both States by
deprivation of liberty for a maximum period of more than one
year or by a more severe penalty.” Id. at Art.
an individual residing in the United States, faces charges of
criminal deceit in the town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Case No.
2:16-cv-00170-CAS-E (Doc. 10-1 at 6). Bulgaria has requested
that the U.S. Government extradite Yordanov pursuant to the
Extradition Treaty between the two countries. On December 15,
2015, the Government filed a sealed “Complaint for
Arrest Warrant and Extradition” against Yordanov.
Yordanov was arrested three days later. On January 8, 2016,
the United States filed a complaint seeking Yordanov's
extradition on behalf of the Government of Bulgaria. Yordanov
opposed and filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. On
November 10, 2016, Judge Eick held a hearing. On January 18,
2017, Judge Eick denied the motion to dismiss and certified
that Yordanov was subject to extradition.
extradition proceeding, Bulgaria offered the following
evidence: a criminal information prepared by S. Pencheva,
Public Prosecutor for the City of Plovid; a witness statement
of the victim, Yordanov Vasilev Angelov; and two witness
statements of Angelov's associate, Atanas Ivanov Bubarov.
Yordanov offered his own evidence.
criminal information prepared by Pencheva contains the
• Angelov was the owner and manager of “SMM”
PLCC, a company that imported and sold cars in Bulgaria.
• Angelov met Yordanov in February 2008. Yordanov
represented that he was in the business of importing cars to
Bulgaria from the United States, and expressed a desire to go
into business with Angelov. The two men entered an oral
agreement to collaborate on this project.
• Initially, Yordanov performed his obligations under
the oral agreement. Yordanov would send invoices to Angelov
describing a vehicle, Angelov would transfer the purchase
price to Yordanov in the United States, and Yordanov would
ship the purchased vehicle by container to Bulgaria.
• In May 2008, Yordanov decided “that he [was]
going to send to the witness Angelov data about vehicles,
which actually he was not going to buy, thus motivating the
witness to transfer money for the purchase.”
Yordanov's intent was to use the transferred money
“for his own necessities.” • Between May
2008 and August 29, 2008, Yordanov sent Angelov invoices for
nine vehicles that he intended to purchase for sale to
Angelov. During this same time period, Angelov transferred
$870, 439.43 to Yordanov's bank to cover the purchase
price and Yordanov's commission.
• When the vehicles did not arrive in Bulgaria, Angelov
repeatedly called Yordanov to inquire as to why the
deliveries were late. Yordanov attempted to explain away the
delay, and later sent Angelov container numbers in which the
vehicles were allegedly going to ship. Angelov determined
that the container numbers existed but that the containers
were not going to ship. Angelov made further attempts to call
Yordanov but Yordanov either refused to answer or offered an
excuse and quickly ended the conversation.
• Angelov then flew to the United States, accompanied by
Atanas Ivanov Bubarov-Angelov's best man and the
godfather of his children-to determine why the delivery had
been delayed. Yordanov assured Angelov that the vehicles were
set to sail from New York at any moment.
• Angelov and Bubarov returned to Bulgaria to await the
shipment. They soon discovered that the vehicles had not
shipped and that Yordanov had never purchased them at all.
• At this point, Bubarov returned to the United States
to meet with Yordanov. At the meeting, Yordanov confessed
that he had never purchased the vehicles he invoiced to
Angelov and never had any intention of doing so. He further
admitted that he had kept the transferred money for himself
and spent it on his personal needs.
Case No. 2:16-cv-00170-CAS-E (Doc. 10-1 at 6-8).
March 14, 2013, Angelov offered a statement before the
Regional Court of Plovdiv. According to the statement:
• Angelov met Yordanov in 2008. Yordanov said he was the
owner of a company called ID Emerson based in California. The
two men entered an agreement, pursuant to which Angelov would
tell Yordanov which cars he was interested in, Yordanov would
buy the cars and transport them to Bulgaria, and Angelov
would pay the purchase price and a commission.
• Angelov began purchasing about 20 to 30 cars per
month, ultimately purchasing about 100 cars. Angelov would
send Yordanov the specifications for the car, Yordanov would
find a car matching the specification and issue an invoice,
Angelov would transfer funds, and Yordanov would buy the car.
• Between May 23, 2008 and August 29, 2008, Yordanov
invoiced Angelov for nine cars (seven BMWs and two Mercedes),
and Angelov paid the purchase price, about $640, 000. After
these cars did not arrive, Angelov called Yordanov to inquire
about the status of the shipment. Yordanov
“deciev[ed]” Angelov, stating that it ...