Woman sought by French police in court
A WOMAN wanted in France in connection with an investigation into the trafficking and forcing into prostitution of young women and money laundering has been brought before the High Court in Dublin.
The French authorities are seeking the extradition of Trust Egharevba (36), a mother of three from Nigeria, as part of their investigation into the activities of a criminal organisation involved in international money laundering and human trafficking.
Ms Egharevba denies any involvement in any of the matters at the centre of the investigation.
In a warrant seeking her surrender, the French authorities say they have launched a criminal investigation into complaints that a number of young Nigerian women have been trafficked into France via Italy.
On arrival into France these women, it is claimed, were forced into prostitution, mainly in Grenoble, to pay off an “imaginary debt” of some €50,000 each to a criminal gang.
It is claimed the travel arrangements of the young women involved a number of female intermediaries described as “mamas”.
It is alleged that between April 2008 and March 2011, money procured from the women was laundered from France via Ms Egharevba’s bank accounts in Ireland to Nigeria.
The French authorities also state that they believe that this criminal operation was operated in a highly organised manner.
Yesterday the High Court heard that Ms Egharevba was detained on foot of a European arrest warrant that had been issued by the French authorities in Lyon.
Det Garda Sgt Martin O’Neill of the Garda extradition unit told the High Court that he had arrested Ms Egharevba at Castlecurragh Park, Dublin, on foot of the European arrest warrant that had previously been endorsed by the High Court.
The detective said that when she was asked if she knew what the matters contained in the warrant were about, she replied: “No, I don’t understand.”
Ms Egharevba did not speak during yesterday’s brief court hearing. Mr Justice Kevin Cross, after informing her of her rights, remanded her in custody.
No application was made for bail, however Proinsias Ó Maolchaláin, for Ms Egharevba, said it was hoped to make a bail application as soon as possible as his client was the mother of three young children.
Mr Ó Maolchaláin added that Ms Egharevba’s husband, who works as a bus driver, and her brother were prepared to act as independent sureties for her.
However, the lawyers for the State said they were not consenting to bail, as they knew very little about Ms Egharevba.
Mr Justice Cross adjourned the extradition application and made it returnable before the court in early October.