'A UK-based businessman named Gypsy Nirvana is facing extradition to the US for allegedly distributing cannabis seeds. His lawyers are fighting the decision, arguing that his activities are legal in the UK.
Nirvana will face the High Court in London on Thursday. The defendant has previously thwarted a covert-style extradition attempt from the US government.
The 57-year-old is facing trial in Maine over charges relating to the production, distribution, possession, import and export of cannabis seeds between 2004 and 2013. Nirvana denies the charges, and other allegations of money laundering.
Nirvana now runs his seed-selling business from an office in London. He legally changed his name to Gypsy Nirvana by deed poll 15 years ago. He was once a roadie for the Clash, worked in the Hong Kong film business, and drove around rock stars, including the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood.
The colorful character is preparing another legal battle against the US government after it attempted to covertly extradite him in 2013. Five years ago he was detained by local police in the Philippines and forcibly put on a flight that would have passed through Los Angeles on its way to London.
His legal counsel, extradition barrister Ben Cooper, told the Westminster Magistrates Court that it was an attempt to subject him to “disguised extradition.” Cooper purports that removing his client via a specific flight would have led to him being detained illegally in the US.
Nirvana escaped the plane in Manila, suspicious of the flight plan. He then languished for 30 months in a Filipino prison before UK embassy officials arranged his deportation back to the UK. When he returned, US authorities launched extradition proceedings against him.'
Read more: Cannabis-seed seller faces US extradition despite breaking no UK laws
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4 October 2018
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