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14 October 2011 Gary Robb - European Arrest Warrant  
27 September 2011 Gary Robb is jailed in South Nicosia  
12 August 2011 Gary Robb is Charged  
06 August 2011 Gary Robb Show Trial  
17 July 2011 Gary Robb will be extradited to Cyprus  
10 November 2009 Gary Robb may avoid trial in UK  
16 August 2009 Gary Robb Customers Face Eviction  
30 January 2009 Gary Robb is Extradited / Deported  
10 February 2008 Gary Robb - The Aga Saga  

14 October 2011 - Gary Robb and the European Arrest Warrant

On 31 July 2011, Gary Robb was extradited from to UK to the Republic of Cyprus after serving a jail sentence in the UK for drug offences. The arrangement whereby he was extradited from the UK to the Republic of Cyprus is based on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The purpose of the EAW is to simplify the process of transferring persons from one state to another in order to respond to criminal charges. It is also part of the strategy for promoting mutual trust in the justice systems of the member states and of harmonising national legal systems.

However, there is no automatic extradition unless the principle of 'dual criminality' applies. This means that the crime of which the person is accused must be considered a crime in the jurisdiction in which the EAW is served as well as that of the issuing authority.

For many crimes, this has the prima facie appearance of simplifing extradition proceedures in the interests of justice. However, it is often more complex than this. For example, assisting a terminally ill person to die could be construed as murder. In a cultural and legal mixture as varied as the European Union, even the most obvious common ground does not bear close scrutiny.

Also, holocaust denial is considered a crime in Germany, but is considered part of the right to free expression elsewhere. So, if a German court issues a European Arrest Warrant for racism, based on holocaust denial, should this commit other member states to extradition ?

Article 2 of the Framework Decision on the EAW abolishes dual criminality for the following offences on 32 grounds -

- participation in a criminal organisation,
- terrorism,
- trafficking in human beings,
- sexual exploitation of children and child pornography,
- illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,
- illicit trafficking in weapons, munitions and explosives,
- corruption,
- fraud, including that affecting the financial interests of the European Communities within the meaning of the Convention of 26 July 1995 on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests,
- laundering of the proceeds of crime,
- counterfeiting currency, including of the euro,
- computer-related crime,
- environmental crime, including illicit trafficking in endangered animal species and in endangered plant species and varieties,
- facilitation of unauthorised entry and residence,
- murder, grievous bodily injury,
- illicit trade in human organs and tissue,
- kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage-taking,
- racism and xenophobia,
- organised or armed robbery,
- illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiques and works of art,
- swindling,
- racketeering and extortion,
- counterfeiting and piracy of products,
- forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein,
- forgery of means of payment,
- illicit trafficking in hormonal substances and other growth promoters,
- illicit trafficking in nuclear or radioactive materials,
- trafficking in stolen vehicles,
- rape,
- arson,
- crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,
- unlawful seizure of aircraft/ships,
- sabotage

With reference to the extradition of Gary Robb by the UK authorities to the Republic of Cyprus, the following statement was made by the Republic of Cyprus police -

“He is being investigated in connection with conspiracy to commit a felony and misdemeanour, unlawful possession and use of property registered to another person, obtaining money under false pretences, and other similar offences related to the illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas.”

A cursory examination of this statement indicates that there were no clear and non contentious grounds for the extradition of Gary Robb.

1. The 'occupied areas' refers to that part of Cyprus administered by the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), and the Republic of Cyprus accepts that its EU jurisdiction does not extend to that area. Consequently, any infringement of EU or Greek Cypriot law in the 'occupied areas' of North Cyprus should not be considered an offence.

2. The 'illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties' fails to recognise that the land developed by Gary Robb, and his company Aga Developments Ltd, had TRNC title deeds and that, from the TRNC perspective, the construction of houses on this land was not unlawful.

3. Should dispossessed Greek Cypriots wish to seek compensation for the loss of land, there is an internationally recognised agency that deals with this issue. This is the TRNC Immovable Property Commission.

4. The most plausible ground for extradition would appear to be that of fraud. Again, this is not clear cut. Fraud is an act of intentional deception made for personal gain. It could be argued that Gary Robb solicited funds from customers on the basis of a promise to construct properties for them, and did so without intending to deliver on his promise. However, these customers were mainly UK nationals who bought villas from Gary Robb / Aga Developments Ltd as holiday or retirement homes in North Cyprus. It is inconceivable that Mr Robb had any Greek Cypriot customers, as these persons are not permitted by the TRNC administration to purchase property in North Cyprus.

The Republic of Cyprus Court, was of course, concerned about the plight of dispossessed Greek Cypriots and not overseas buyers of property in North Cyprus. Therefore, the alleged fraud was based on the acts of Gary Robb whereby he knowingly represented land in North Cyprus as belonging to Aga Developments Ltd, or to himself as a Director of that company, while he fully accepted that it belonged to Greek Cypriots.

It is understood that reference was made at trial to a meeting of Aga Development customers held at the Colony Hotel in Kyrenia. It was claimed that Gary Robb assured customers at that meeting that the development at Klepini or Arapkoy was completely legal. The Greek Cypriot case was that the development was not legal insofar as some of the land belonged to dispossessed Greek Cypriots. However, the development could be considered lawful if the land had TRNC title deeds and building permits in place.

There are two intriguing questions relating to the extradition of Gary Robb.

Firstly, he failed to appeal against the request for extradition issued by the Republic of Cyprus.

Secondly, when he appeared in Court in Nicosia, he pleaded guilty to all charges.

There are suggestions that the UK authorities granted extradition on the grounds of fraud with respect to the monies lost by UK customers of Gary Robb and that the Republic of Cyprus modified the nature of the fraud to theft of Greek Cypriot land, but this is an uncorroborated supposition.

There are many contradictory reports concerning Mr Gary Robb, and we apologise for any inaccuracies

Leslie Hardy © 14 October 2011

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