Extradition case of Sandton 'swindler' accused of fleecing Americans of millions postponed

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The case was postponed to 22 July.
The case was postponed to 22 July.
Steven van Heerden

He might have been living his best life in Sandton when he was nabbed, but his alleged crimes – totaling millions – were spread across international countries.

He is believed to be part of a cybercrime ring involved in phishing, internet scams, and money laundering.

The 28-year-old Nigerian national James Junior Aliyu was arrested in Sandton by Interpol recently.

He’s allegedly part of an international syndicate, some of whose members have already been convicted in the US.

His arrest involved a takedown operation which included members from the Interpol National Crime Bureau (NCB) in Pretoria, with assistance from members of the SAPS Gauteng Highway Patrol Unit, and they swooped in on the upmarket estate in Sandton.

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His arrest follows an investigation involving law enforcement authorities from South Africa and the United States of America (USA). The cybercrime suspect who has allegedly been conducting his criminal activities from South Africa is accused of swindling dozens of US citizens of millions in dollars through email and text messages.

“Authorities in the USA, where the investigation originated and where most of his alleged victims are based, have applied for his extradition,” says Colonel Athlenda Mathe of the SAPS.

Extradition takes place when a harsh crime has been committed by a person from another country or state while living in a different country.

Speaking to Drum, Advocate Sabelo Hashe from the Johannesburg Independent Bar, says, “The accused is normally extradited to the country where the crime was committed when they are [for example] hiding in our country, South Africa.

"The accused might appear at a regional court but most of the time it is the high court because the High Court has inherent jurisdiction. And there is no fixed amount for the crime committed by the accused but there is an amount that is at the court’s discretion.

“There is also an option to trial him in the country and once things have been further out in the court they can either send him to his country or prosecute him here.”

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James appeared again at the Randburg Magistrate on Tuesday and his case was postponed to 22 July.

The NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane says everything will be clear on 22 July regarding the direction that will be taken for the case.

“We will hear on this day whether they want to apply for bail or they want the extradition hearing to start but the NPA has submitted the copies of the extradition document.”

According to Timeslive, James is an alleged kingpin and his arrest is in connection with almost R196 million in alleged romance scamming and business email compromise fraud. 

His lavish life was well documented on social media, where he showed off his wealth to his followers under the account name Oldsoldier.

James is believed to own a fleet of luxury vehicles including a Porche Cayenne, a Mercedes C220d, and a Mercedes-Benz G Class luxury SUV.

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