Spanish Court Frees Ex-Grant Thornton Partner Gabriel Azedo

Gabriel Azedo, the former Grant Thornton partner who fled Hong Kong in 2009 after allegedly defrauding clients of millions of dollars, has been freed from custody in Spain after that country's highest court questioned the independence of Hong Kong's legal system. 


The South China Morning Post reports that the Constitutional Court of Spain argued that Hong Kong had no power to ask for his return because it was not a sovereign state and did not have a reciprocal extradition treaty with Spain.


Azedo was arrested at a casino in the Spanish city of Salamanca in 2010. Since then, Hong Kong has been trying to secure the return of Azedo, 65, under the UN Convention Against Corruption, a multilateral agreement adopted by 140 signatories, including mainland China and Spain. The Spanish government had earlier approved the request from Hong Kong, as a part of China.


Azedo used the "China argument" in an attempt to block his extradition from Spain. Last Friday the country's top court agreed with him and ordered his release.

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