Owners of €40 Million Steroid Empire to be Extradited to United States
By Millard Baker ~ source
Alleged steroid kingpin Mihael Karner was arrested by Austria’s counter-terrorism special operations tactical unit on December 27, 2011. He has been accused of operating a €40 million steroid empire out of Europe and laundering the proceeds through various shell companies, luxury homes and yachts.
The “Einsatzkommando COBRA” or COBRA Special Task Force raided a €5 million home in the Austria resort town of Klagenfurt. The vacation home was owned by 36-year old Mihael Karner and his wife Alenka in the Austria resort town of Klagenfurt. The Slovenian couple was arrested and held in custody pending extradition hearings.
Federal prosecutors asked Austrian authorities to extradite the couple after the Karners were indicted in the United States District Court in Massachusetts in March 2010. The indictment alleges that the couple was responsible for the distribution of hundreds of thousands of doses of anabolic steroids between 2000 and 2008.
The steroid investigation began as early as 2005 but did not take off until the indictment was filed; the United States government pressured European officials to crack down on Karner. The steroid bust was made by the Austrian authorities with cooperation from US and Italian authorities.
The investigating judge in Klagenfurt decided to extradite the couple based on the reasonable suspicion that Mihael and Alenka Karner were guilty of the illegal distribution of anabolic steroids and that the offense is punishable in both Austria and the United States.
Roland Grilc, the defense lawyer for Karner, argued that the extradition of his clients represents another example of the enormous influence that the United States has on international steroid policy.
Karner is fighting the extradition. Grolic appealed the judge’s decision arguing that the couple faces draconian sentencing policies in the United States for steroid crimes. Anti-doping legislation only recently passed in Austria in 2008; the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment. If the Karners are extradited to the United States, they face up to 40 years imprisonment.
Slovenia authorities are also requesting his extradition based on money laundering charges.
The next extradition hearing for the Karners will occur in three weeks. The Slovenian couple will be detained pending the hearings.
Mihael Karner has been linked to dozens of websites that sell anabolic steroids and other muscle-building drugs in a popular scammer list that has been posted all over the bodybuilding and steroid forums.
STA. (January 12, 2012). ‘Odločitev o izročitvi Karnerjevih kaže na velik pritisk ZDA’ Retrieved from 24ur.com - 'OdloÄitev o izroÄitvi Karnerjevih kaÅ¾e na velik pritisk ZDA'