US fugitive wins appeal to remain in Tonga

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Tonga’s Court of Appeal in Nukuʻalofa on October 31 has quashed a Supreme Court decision upholding the extradition of an American man who was wanted by US authorities for counts of wire fraud and other illegal activities.

The Tongan government will not officially hand over Antone Thomas Pedras, 62, to the United States at the request of the FBI  after the Court of Appeal decided that the ground of his removal order was legally invalid.

The FBI investigated after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) served public administrative proceedings against Pedras.

In a release on June 18, 2014 SEC says that after an investigation, its Division of Enforcement alleges that Christopher A.T. Pedras was known as Chris Pedras and he was also known as Antone Thomas Pedras, 62.

Pedras arrived in Tonga in January this year and according to SEC document he lived in Turlock, California and Auckland in New Zealand.

Pedras is married to a Tongan.

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  1. Naʻe fakataʻeʻaongaʻi ʻe he Fakamaauʻanga Tangi ʻa Tongá ʻi Nukuʻalofa ʻi ʻOkatopa ʻaho 31 e tuʻutuʻuni ʻa e Fakamaauʻanga Lahí ʻo poupouʻi ʻa e tuʻutuʻuni ke fakafoki ha tangata ʻAmelika naʻe fie maʻu ʻe he kau maʻumafai ʻAmeliká koeʻuhi ko ha ngaahi hia fekauʻaki mo e ngaahi ngāue kākā taumuʻa ke maʻu ha koloa pe paʻanga mei ha kakai pehē foki ki he ngaahi ngāue taʻefakalao kehekehe pe.

    ʻE ʻikai ke ʻave fakapuleʻanga ʻe he Puleʻanga Tongá ʻa Antone Thomas Pedras taʻu 62 ki ʻAmelika ʻi ha kole ʻa e FBI hili ʻeni ha tuʻutuʻuni ʻa e Fakamaauʻanga Tangí ʻo pehē ko e makatuʻunga ko ē ne fatuʻaki ʻa e tuʻutuʻuni ke fakafokiʻaki ʻa e tokotahá ni ʻoku ʻikai hano mahuʻinga fakalao.

    Naʻe fakahoko ha fakatotolo ʻa e FBI ki he tokotahá ni hili ia hano tuku atu ki he fakamaauʻangá ha tohi fokotuʻu ke fakaʻilo ʻa Pedras.

    ʻI ha fakamatala ne tuku mai ʻe he Komisoni ki he Maluʻi mo Fakafetongi ʻa ʻAmelika ʻi Sune ʻaho 18 ʻo e taʻu ní fekauʻaki mo e fakaʻilo ko ʻení naʻe pehē ai kuo ʻi ai ha huʻuhuʻu ʻa ʻenau vaʻa ki hono fakahoko ʻa e ngaahi fakaʻiló ko Antone Thomas Pedras ko ia pe naʻe ʻiloa ko Christopher A.T. Pedras pea toe ʻiloa ko Chris Pedras taʻu 62.

    Naʻe tūʻuta hake ki Tonga ʻa Pedras he taʻú ni pea fakatatau ki hono pepa fakaʻiló ʻoku pehē ai naʻe nofo i Turlock ʻi ʻAmelika pea mo ʻAokalani ʻi Nuʻu Sila.

    ʻOku mali Tonga ʻa Pedras.