An Athens court rejected on Thursday a request by Romanian authorities for the extradition of French-Israeli billionaire Benny Steinmetz, ruling that his right to a fair trial in Romania has been violated and that he is at the real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment if extradited.
Steinmetz was detained after flying into Athens on a private jet on 24 November 2021 on an international arrest warrant but was released 24 hours later on condition he didn’t leave Greece.
“The significance of this decision goes far beyond my personal vindication. It is a resounding, clear response from Greece as an EU member state against the practices of politically motivated persecution, the violation of the rule of law and human rights,” Steinmetz said in a statement.
“The conspiracy against me has already begun to crumble. The truth will soon shine definitively. I am grateful to Greek Justice.”
The businessman was convicted by the Romanian Supreme Court on December 18, 2020 in absentia over fraudulent land deals and the warrant was issued to enforce the five year prison sentence, but Steinmetz has appealed his conviction.
At the same time, Interpol’s supervisory committee (CCF) said on October 29 that the warrant against Steinmetz be erased as it was “politically motivated.” Greek authorities had not updated their records.