Brazilian police have reportedly recommended charges against U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte and James Feigen for falsely reporting that they were robbed at gunpoint on Sunday. Brazilian authorities believe that story was made up. They say the men had actually vandalized a gas station, and it was a security officer who had pulled a gun on them to keep them from leaving the premises. Even though a judge tried to confiscate his passport, Lochte made it back to the United States. So the big question now, could Lochte be extradited to Brazil? Doubtful. Here’s why.
The United States Brazilian International Extradition Treaty was signed in 1962, and does allow for U.S. citizens charged with a crime to be extradited to Brazil. However, the list of crimes that are eligible for extradition does not include making a false statement. Instead, the governments include crimes like robbery, larceny, murder, and perjury. Some have said that making a false statement might count as “perjury.” I think that is a stretch.
“I don’t see Lochte be extradited,” international law attorney Douglas McNabb told LawNewz.com. “However, potentially what could happen is that Brazil Interpol could go to Interpol in France and ask them to issue RED notice (international fugitive warrant). This gets sent to 190 countries. So if he were to leave the U.S. and go to a different country, he could be arrested. It would be a way of land locking him to the United States.”
Other legal experts agree.
“It’s very hard to believe the United States government would assist Brazil’s government in an inquest to have Lochte come back to face any charges on this matter,” lawyer David Kubiliun told the NY Post.
Reports indicate his teammate, James Feigen, has been allowed to come back to the United States. His attorney says he agreed to donate 11K to a Brazilian charity to settle the robbery dispute.
The U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky told ABC that the U.S. swimmers in Brazil “are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities.”
As we reported earlier, Under Special Part Title 11, Chapter 3, Article 340 of Brazil’s Penal Code, informing law enforcement of the occurrence of a crime or misdemeanor that never took place is subject to detention of one to six months or a fine.
This article has been updated to reflect new information Friday morning about James Feigen.