On 17 February 2022, Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring sent the case of Ms. Karime Tubilla to the Secretary of State (‘SoS’) for a decision as to whether she should be extradited to Mexico.
Ms. Tubilla, who is married to former governor Javier Duarte, currently serving a nine-year prison sentence in Mexico on charges of criminal association and money laundering in the Gulf coast region of Veracruz, is wanted by Mexican authorities on charges of conspiracy to defraud. Ms. Tubilla was arrested on 29 October 2019 and is alleged to have taken £4million from the Integrated Family Development System (‘DIF’), which provides humanitarian aid to poor and vulnerable members of the Veracruz community.
The extradition request for Ms. Tubilla is the first such request by Mexico to the United Kingdom. The UK and Mexico ratified a ‘Mutual Surrender of Fugitive Criminals’ treaty in 1889, and under Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003 (‘EA 2003’), as a Category 2 State, Mexico is required by the court to provide prima facie evidence of the offence for which Ms. Tubilla’s extradition was sought. The CPS, in their report on the case, clarified that the court accepted the ‘evidence provided by Mexico’ as sufficient to make a case to answer, although the evidence submitted by Mexico has not yet been made available to the public.
Mark Summers QC , representing Mexico at the hearing, reportedly ‘defended security guarantees offered by the Mexican government’, which is likely a reference to potential assurances from Mexican authorities that were Ms Tubillas to be extradited, she would not be subject to the poor conditions of Mexican prisons; supported by the court’s findings that her human rights would be protected in Mexico.
The SoS now has a period of two months, under section 99 of the EA 2003 to decide, unless an extension period is requested and granted by the courts.
Ms. Tubillas has indicated that she intends to appeal the decision.