TelexFree Fugitive Loses Citizenship

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February 22, 2018 -- Carlos Wanzeler, the fugitive co-founder of TelexFree, was stripped of his Brazilian citizenship last week -- an unusual move by the Brazilian government which may open the door for his extradition to the United States.

Wanzeler left the United States for Brazil the day federal authorities raided TelexFree's headquarters in 2014. The U.S. had been negotiating for Wanzeler's return, but Brazil does not extradite its citizens. Revoking Wanzeler's citizenship may be Brazil's first step toward extradition.

Brazil's Ministry of Justice cited that Wanzeler was losing his citizenship because he obtained American citizenship in 2009. Wanzeler's attorneys in Brazil appealed the ruling.

Wanzeler and TelexFree co-founder and CEO, James Merrill, were indicted on multiple fraud charges in the U.S. in 2014. Merrill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in federal prison. Brazilian authorities are separately prosecuting TelexFree and its owners.