Radu Nemes and his wife Diana Nemes were arrested in Yelm, Washington state, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last month for their alleged involvement in a tax scheme that defrauded the Romanian government of more than USD 68 million.
Diana Nemes fought to be released from detention on Monday, but a federal judge denied the request. The Nemeses’ lawyer said both her clients were willing to waive their right to an extradition hearing if the couple’s two boys, ages 6 and 9, were sent to Romania ahead of them or with them.
In a waiver affidavit, Radu Nemes waived his rights under the extradition treaty and agreed to be transported in custody to Romania as soon as possible.
Working with Romanian authorizes, the FBI’s Seattle division began investigating the Nemes in 2012 after it was discovered they were living in Yelm. The Nemeses came to the U.S. on visitor visas in 2011 — which have since expired — and set up several sham companies in western Washington to hide the cash, feds say.
Anti-corruption officials in Romania contend Radu and Diana Nemes cheated the Romanian government out of USD 68 million in taxes due on nearly 1 million tons of diesel fuel. The couple is alleged to have conspired with high-ranking Romanian finance officials to perpetrate the fraud.
Investigators contend the Nemes laundered the proceeds of the scheme through banks in Dubai and the United States before fleeing Romania. The Nemes are alleged to have spent millions in laundered money on construction equipment, gold and real estate, as well as at least one yacht.