On 14 September, ICIJ published an article about how Chilean arms dealer Carlos Cardoen sold cluster bombs to Saddam Hussein, and how leaked documents detail how an elite Panamanian firm chose to stick with the notorious former arms merchant. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami in 1993, charged with illegally importing a metal called zirconium from the US to make cluster bombs sold to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Soon after, Interpol, the international law enforcement agency, issued a “red notice”. This, the article says, didn’t prevent Arias, Fàbrega & Fàbrega, a prominent Panamanian law firm and offshore service provider, from representing his offshore companies for years after Interpol issued the red notice, leaked documents show. Cardoen, 80, is still fighting to have Interpol’s notice lifted, and the US didn’t formally file a request for extradition until March 2019. In March 2020, the Chilean Supreme Court rejected the extradition request, saying that too many years had passed since Cardoen was charged and that the crimes he was accused of have no equivalent under Chilean law. He is now awaiting the decision on an application for diplomatic immunity.
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