Yelm man waives extradition to his native Romania to face tax-fraud probe

Staff writerApril 30, 2014 

A fugitive Romanian businessman who had been living in Yelm has agreed to waive extradition back to his native land to face investigation of tax fraud.

Radu Nemes, 39, remains in the federal detention center in SeaTac while arrangements are made to send him to Romania, where he is suspected of bilking his government out of nearly $68 million in excise tax proceeds connected to his fuel distribution business.

Nemes signed documents last week in U.S. District Court in Tacoma saying he would not fight his extradition.

His pregnant wife, meanwhile, has lost a bid to be released from federal custody as she fights extradition, court records show. Diana Nemes, 38, also is incarcerated at the federal detention center at SeaTac.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan rejected her request last week and encouraged her and federal officials to discuss her possible waiver of extradition as well, court records show.

Federal agents arrested the couple at gunpoint in March at their Yelm home, where the Nemeses have lived since 2012. The Romanian government had issued arrest warrants for the Nemeses last year.

FBI agents found numerous firearms during the raid and also discovered an underground bunker stocked with food and other provisions, court records show. The couple also might have buried millions of dollars in gold on properties they own in the Yelm area, court records show.

Assistant U.S. attorneys say the couple bought millions of dollars of real estate in the Yelm area and invested in local businesses in an effort to launder the proceeds of a scheme to defraud the Romanian government of tax revenue. Both Radu and Diana Nemes have been implicated in the alleged scheme, according to court documents.

An attorney for the Nemeses has argued her clients are legitimate business people whose investments are above board.

Keeping Diana Nemes locked up and away from her two school-age children is overly harsh, attorney Martha Boersch argued in court papers.

Bryan disagreed.

A hearing to discuss Diana Nemes’ extradition is scheduled for May 22. 

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