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Jakarta Post

American wanted by FBI entered Indonesia before Interpol's red notice: Minister

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 23, 2020   /   06:31 am
American wanted by FBI entered Indonesia before Interpol's red notice: Minister Russ Albert Medlin (center), an American fugitive wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), stands during a press conference at the Jakarta Police Headquarters on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (Antara/Reno Esnir)

The Indonesian government said Monday that Russ Albert Medlin, an American fugitive recently arrested in Jakarta, had entered the archipelago before Interpol issued a red notice for the bitcoin scammer and convicted pedophile.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said in a hearing with House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs that the government received the notification three weeks after the man wanted by the FBI entered Indonesia.

“There was no red notice when he arrived here. Our system didn't detect it at the time," Yasonna said on Monday. "After we received it, the immigration office and the National Police conducted a joint operation to arrest him. He could not have entered had we received the notification [sooner]."

According to the ministry, Medlin arrived in the Southeast Asian country using a tourist visa on Nov. 5, 2019, three weeks before Interpol issued its red notice on Dec. 9, 2019.

Read also: American fugitive arrested in Jakarta a known pedophile: Jakarta Police

He was nabbed in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, last week -- seven months since his arrival -- after three teenage girls alleged he paid to have sex with them. The police also confiscated more than US$20,000 in cash from the suspect.

If convicted under the 2014 law on child protection, he could face up to 15 years in prison. Police are now exploring the possibility that this case has a wider connection to child prostitution rings.

Medlin is wanted by the FBI for his alleged role in defrauding cryptocurrency investors out of US$722 million using a "high-tech Ponzi scheme".

He had been convicted twice in 2006 and 2008 for crimes relating to child molestation and flagged by Interpol as a child molester, the latter of which saw him serve two years in prison for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl and possession of child pornography.