Greek court postpones Australian extradition request

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ATHENS, Oct 9 (Reuters) Greece's top court today postponed the hearing of an Australian request to extradite its most wanted fugitive until December 4 in order to wait for a final Australian court decision on the extradition.

Lawyers for Tony Mokbel have challenged the extradition request in Australian courts, arguing it should not have been signed by the country's justice minister but by the attorney general.

Greece's Supreme Court said it would wait for a final decision from Australia in November before ruling on the extradition of the fugitive known as ''Fat Tony'', wanted at home in connection with a murder of a rival crime boss and for a drugs conviction.

''The court has accepted our request and we will wait for the federal (Australian) court to issue a decision on our appeal,'' lawyer Alexandros Likourezos told reporters.

Mokbel, who is suspected of involvement in the murder of rival crime boss Lewis Moran and another man, said he was satisfied with the postponement. He denies any involvement in these murders.

Mokbel was also sentenced in absentia in Australia for trafficking cocaine and police had requested his extradition to serve his sentence.

Mokbel has been held in an Athens jail since his arrest in an Athens suburb in early June. He had been living in Greece for nine months with his girlfriend, daughter and their baby.

REUTERS SG KN1502

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