Cyprus Mail

‘Weapons trade’ arrest at airport politically motivated by US says suspect

File photo: Larnaca airport

An Israeli professor arrested at the Larnaca International airport after Interpol issued an arrest warrant against him on suspicion of arms trafficking to China and Libya has rubbished the charges against him.

Local authorities arrested Gal Luft as he was boarding a plane for Israel on Thursday evening.

The professor confirmed his arrest in a Sunday morning tweet, claiming his arrest was part of a “politically motivated extradition request by the US” where he has been wanted for illegal export of arms to China and Libya.

“The US, claiming I’m an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. I’ve never been an arms dealer,” Luft tweeted after his arrest.

He further claimed that his arrest is an effort by the Biden administration to silence him for cooperating with an investigation into the US president’s son’s business dealings.

“DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe,Jim&Hunter Biden,” the 56-year-old professor said, threatening to “name names”.

Luft, a former lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army and the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) in Washington, was on Friday remanded in custody after he was fouond to have a US arrest warrant pending against him on charges of arms trafficking and fraud for offences that allegedly occurred from 2015 onward.

He is expected to be extradited to the United States.

Luft’s attorney Mordechai Tzivin also claimed his client’s arrest was politically motivated and an attempt to silence him for providing incriminating information in a corruption case allegedly involving Biden’s son, Hunter.

“The arrest came four years after Luft cooperated with FBI and Department of Justice investigators to help them with information about the case,” he was quoted as saying by Ynetnews. Tzivin was referring to a 2019 meeting in which the defence and energy expert allegedly gave incriminating information on the younger Biden.

The lawyer noted how Luft’s testimony could “bury Hunter Biden, that’s why they’re trying to bury him first.”

He continued by claiming that “if it were Russia, this would’ve already been a diplomatic collision” and that “it’s not unreasonable to think that the Democrats or some of their peers would like him gone.

“His testimony will be very devastating, it will divert attention to the president himself as well,” he added, highlighting that his client is in “great danger”.

Luft has been publicly critical of US foreign policy, as well as the Biden administration as a whole, in the past. At a Beijing summit in 2021, titled International Forum for Democracy: Shared Human Values, Luft blamed the Biden administration’s commitment “to democracy on going only as far as its interests allow.”

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