Israeli professor Gal Luft, who is wanted by US authorities for arms dealing, has gone missing in Cyprus after a Larnaca court had released him on bail, Cypriot website Philenews reported on Wednesday.
Luft had been arrested at Larnaca International Airport, in southern Cyprus, after Interpol issued an arrest warrant against him on suspicion of arms trafficking to Libya and China. He was then slated for extradition to the United States.
Luft released on bail
The Larnaca District Court released him while deliberating on the US extradition request after it ordered him to pay €150,000 as a guarantee, to put up another €250,000 with a guarantor, and to present himself at the central police station of Paphos, where he lived at the time, at regular intervals.
On March 28, Luft did not appear at the Paphos police station as required. On the same day, his lawyer declared Luft a missing person and expressed concern for his client's life.
Luft's abandoned vehicle was discovered a day later, and according to Philenews' sources, Cypriot police are considering the possibility that Luft has left the country entirely.
I've been arrested in Cyprus on a politically motivated extradition request by the US.The US, claiming I'm an arms dealer. It would be funny if it weren't tragic.I've never been an arms dealer.DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe,Jim&Hunter Biden.Shall I name names?— Gal Luft (@GalLuft) February 19, 2023
Since Luft did not appear for his court date on April 3, the €400,000 he put up as a guarantee has been frozen.
Larnaca police spokesperson Haris Hadjiyiasemi stated that another European and international arrest warrant was issued against him, according to the Cyprus Mail.
Luft denied all accusations
Luft had denied the accusations leveled against him, affirming that he has "never been an arms dealer" and further claiming that the US Justice Department is "trying to bury me to protect [US President Joe] Biden" and his family.
Luft, an author and an energy security and diplomatic expert, serves as the co-director of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a think tank focused on energy, security and economic trends, as per its website.
He has been publicly critical of American foreign policy, as well as the Biden administration as a whole, in the past. In a 2021 Beijing summit, titled 'International Forum on Democracy: the Shared Human Values,' Luft accused the Biden administration's "commitment to democracy going only as far as its interests allow."