Fugitive developers to fight extradition

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Former fugitives Michael R. and Linda Mastro have hired a French lawyer and intend to fight extradition to the U.S., their Seattle attorney said Thursday.

Bankruptcy fraud — the principal crime with which the former Seattle couple have been charged — may not be an offense subject to extradition under French law, James Frush said.

The Mastros, fugitives for 16 months, were arrested by French police at the request of the FBI on Wednesday in a town on Lake Annecy, in the French Alps.

They appeared before a French judge Thursday and were ordered to remain in jail pending further proceedings, Frush said. Their next court appearance probably will be in about two weeks, he added.

The Mastros have ties to the failed redevelopment of the Blue Mountan Mall in Walla Walla.

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury in Seattle indicted the Mastros Thursday on 43 counts of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering — 37 more counts than they had been charged with previously in a criminal complaint issued in August 2011 that was the basis for their arrests.

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