De Frank Schneider sëtzt zanter elo gläich 5 Méint am Prisong zu Nanzeg. De fréiere Chef vun den Operatiounen beim SREL, also dem lëtzebuerger Geheimdéngscht ass an Isolatiounshaft. Firwat gouf dee Mann heifir a Frankräich vu franséischen Autoritéiten festgeholl, an net zu Lëtzebuerg? Schliisslech kënnt hien reegelméisseg an de Grand-Duché schaffen, eent vu senge Kanner geet hei an d’Schoul? Wat gëtt dem Mann virgeworf? Firwat interesséieren sech déi lëtzebuerger Autoritéiten esou wéineg – eigentlech guer net- fir hien?
Ech hu probéiert, iwwert eng Drëttpersoun e kuerzen Interview mat him aus dem Prisong ze maachen. Dofir ass den Text op Englesch. Haut um Donneschdeg ass Audience um Geriicht, wou säin Affekot probéiert, hien provisoresch fräi ze kréien. An Isolatiounshaft léisst sech schliisslech e Prozess schlecht virbereeden!
Ganz kuerz zu de Faiten:
- den 29. Abrëll gëtt hien vun de franséischen Autoritéiten op Wonsch vun den Amerikaner interpelléiert, e puer Meter vun der lëtzebuerger Grenz ewech;
- Am Kontext vun der Affaire “OneCoin” war de Procureur vun Nei-York(Distrikt Süd) zur Konklusioun komm vun engem “complot en vue de commettre une fraude électronique” a vun engem “complot en vue de commettre l’infraction de blanchiment d’argent”. Déi zwee Faiten hätten sech an de Joer 2014 an 2019 zougedroen;
- De Schneider gëtt vun den Amerikaner als Flüchtling bezeechent. Dobäi ass hien a Frankräich ugemellt an huet eng Gesellschaft zu Lëtzebuerg;
- Amerika huet net Interpol ageschalt, esou wéi dat hätt mussen de Fall sinn!
- De Schneider war mam Procureur vun Nei-York am Gespréich an et war ofgemaach, datt hien de 17. an 18. Abrëll zejoert hätt sollen an d’USA fléien. Wéinst der Pandemie war awer näischt dorausser ginn. An et war de Procureur héchstperséinlech, deen de Rendez-Vous annuléiert hat! Ce n’est que le ridicule qui tue!
- D’Amerikaner hätte gären de Schneider ausgeliwwert.
- De Grand-Duché liwwert seng Leit, also Persounen mat lëtzebuerger Nationalitéit net aus. Dohier wuel d’Arrestatioun a Frankräich.
- Lëtzebuerg MUSS awer där concernéierter Persoun de Prozess maachen, wann d’USA dat verlaangen. Do besteet en traité mat den USA ( Artikel 3, §2)
- Am Grand-Duché halen d’Autoritéiten, virun allem d’Politik, d’Féiss roueg. KEEN, an Zuelen (0) huet bis ewell och nëmme probéiert, mat him Kontakt opzehuelen!
- Wisou kann de Schneider als Flüchtling bezeechent ginn, wou hien nach am Februar 2020 ongewollten Invité war am SREL-Prozess? Kloer! De klenge SREL ass fir d’Amerikaner eppes aneschters ewéi bei eis, ma ëmmerhin war et e Prozess. Deen iwwregens sech soll an e puer Wochen widderhuelen. Maachen d’Fransousen fir hien den aller-retour vun Nanzeg op Lëtzebuerg, fir datt dee fréiere SREL-Mann seng Aussoen am Appell kann virdroen?
- Ironie vum Schicksal. De Schneider huet Joer laang fir déi amerikanesch Ambassade zu Lëtzebuerg geschafft.
Fir de Frank Schneider gëllt ewéi fir jidder aneren och, d’présomption d’innocence, bis datt de Géigendeel erwisen ass. Bis ewell ginn et a senger Saach méi Froen wéi Äntwerten. Dofir haut mol den Ufank vum Interview, wéi gesot op Englesch.
Här Schneider, erzielt eis mol kuerz de Moment vun Ärer Verhaftung a Frankräich..
I have never used an alias, never hid anywhere, never changed my behaviour as a “frontalier” living in France and working in Luxembourg, which I have been for 25 years. Over that time, I had two American Ambassadors over for dinner, four CIA Station Chiefs, one FBI Special Agent and many US diplomats have sat around my dining table, partied the night away and even thrown up on my living room floor after partying too much. Despite all of this, I was labelled a “fugitive” by the US from one moment to the next. The French, for reasons I still cannot comprehend, believed this nonsense.
On the 28th April 2021, I flew into Bruxelles Zaventem airport and drove to our family home in Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. On the 29th April, the day after celebrating Jamie’s 13th and my 51st birthday, Sophie and I set off at 07.00h to drive Jamie to the International School of Luxembourg. We were on our routine school run, Sophie driving her car and Jamie in the back with his headphones on. After half an hour of village roads, approaching the Audun-le-Tiche big commuter roundabout, which is just meters from the Luxembourg border, four unmarked cars drove up at high speed to the side, front and behind us, forcing Sophie to brake hard into the gutter. About a dozen men in plain clothes instantly surrounded our car and pointed guns straight at our heads, Jamie included. Seemingly confused by Sophie driving, they shouted nonstop at Sophie with a gun right at her head, opened her car door and demanded my name. I thought we were about to be assassinated on the spot. They then pulled me out of the car, handcuffed my hands behind my back, dragged me to a car and drove off.
I was arrested by the BRI (Brigade de Renseignement et Intervention) just as if I were a terrorist, driven at high speed away from the scene in what I regard as an act of terrorism itself, a gross abuse of police power, of police violence, which will forever leave a tragic scar on us, but most unforgivingly on our son Jamie.
The high-speed drive away from the scene of horror and away from my home country continued, as if the French were expecting an imminent invading army or “fast & furious” style team with Van Diesel on a rescue mission. One of the guys sitting next to me still held his gun, a pistol with an extended charger so that he could shoot me thirty-two times, pointed right at my face. I tried to stay calm and believe I succeeded, at least on the outside. My first question was if I could ask a question. The answer was a short but clear affirmative. “Are my wife and son free to go or what happened to them?” I was assured that this was only about me and that my family was free to go. “I assume you are police then?” Confused that I asked this question he answered that he thought it was obvious but asked who I thought they were. “Terrorists, criminal gang?”, I asked.
After a few minutes the convoy slowed down and turned onto a rural track leading into a forest. I did think for a minute that I might now get the bullet in the head treatment but then thought that this was unlikely. The car stopped and other than my neighbour and his gun, everyone got out of their cars, gave each other lots of high-fives and were all incredibly excited by their job-well-done, congratulating one another with pats on the back and testosterone-fuelled rutting stag-like roars. A quieter chap who seemed as confused by the ritual war dance as me, changed position with my trigger-happy neighbour to take his place. He told me he was from the Police Judiciaire and would proceed to tell me what this was all about and read me my rights. At that stage it did not feel as if those were amounting to very much.
After checking my name, my date of birth, the name of my dead parents making sure that I was the one they were looking for, I was told that they were acting on behalf of the “Police Judiciaire de Nancy”, executing an arrest and extradition request from the FBI. The very young officer told me that I had the right to say nothing, the right to a lawyer, a doctor, a phone call to my family and that I would be taken first to Metz, then Nancy and then probably Paris where I would be put on a plane to the United States. It sounded that all of this would be happening in the following 24 hours. Calmly I confirmed that I understood, but in reality, I understood nothing. The handcuffs behind my back were so tight that to this day, 140 days after my arrest, my nerves are damaged to the point that I have lost my feelings in my thumbs. The one-hour drive was sheer agony. Testosterone and adrenaline levels were still very high, the driver playing music from his phone at full blast for the entire drive.
Once in Metz at the Caserne of the Police, a place I knew well from my SREL days when I came to meet my colleagues from the French Security Service, handcuffs still tightly on, I was transferred from one car to another and driven at equally high speed in a convoy to Nancy. At the headquarters of the Nancy Police the handcuffs finally came off. Within minutes I was in a room and asked to strip naked for a search, the first of by now dozens of these degrading rituals, which always reminds me of Marlon Brando’s biography where he recounts a moment at the set while filming the “Last Tango in Paris” where his manhood shrunk to the size of a little worm because of the cold. It was cold that day, just saying.
After not finding any compromising substances I might have carried that day on Jamie’s school run, I was locked up in my first cell, one of about 20, stinking of piss and shit, filthy like the public toilets on a French service station on a busy Saturday in August. The other cells were all filled with mainly very young adults, some with more than one, all shouting at the police and at each other, well on a downhill track. Again, I tried to stay calm, said nothing and waited, sitting on a stone bench.
After a couple of hours two plain clothed officers from the Financial Crime Unit came to get me and took me to their office. They confirmed that my wife had been contacted and was organizing a lawyer. They allowed me a short call to my Luxembourg lawyer who confirmed that they were indeed already in the process of contacting lawyers in France. They further allowed me a short call to Sophie after agreeing to speak French in front of the officers so that they could understand. However, Sophie did not pick up her phone and they refused me a second attempt. It was lunchtime after all. I was asked a few questions and answered, but I can’t remember the nature of the questions anymore. I was told that all of this was connected to OneCoin, that I would be presented to a Prosecutor and then a Magistrate from the “Cour d’Appel de Nancy” who would lock me up awaiting my extradition to the U.S.
Back in my stinky cell I took my place again on the bench, closed my eyes and tried to breathe deeply, to stay calm, to control my emotions. My thoughts were with my family, with Sophie and my children.
Also duerchaus dramatesch Stonnen fir hien a seng Famill!
Affaire à suivre….