US asks Australia to hand over former Marine accused of aiding Chinese military
Stars and Stripes December 28, 2022
The Australian government has formally received a request by Washington to extradite a former U.S. Marine pilot accused of providing military training to China, Australian officials said Wednesday.
The Australian Attorney-General’s Department on Sunday received the Dec. 9 request to hand over the former Marine, Daniel Duggan, 54, who has been in Australian custody since Oct. 21, according to a statement emailed by department spokeswoman Jo White to Stars and Stripes.
The Attorney-Generals’ office said a magistrate in the Australian state of New South Wales is scheduled to consider the extradition on Jan. 10.
Duggan, wanted for alleged money laundering and offenses under the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, was arrested on a U.S. request, according to the statement.
The Attorney-General met a Sunday deadline to formally receive the request, “and Mr Duggan’s lawyer has been informed of that decision,” the department stated.
Duggan’s lawyer Dennis Miralis did not respond to a message sent through his firm’s website from Stars and Stripes seeking comment Wednesday.
The Australian newspaper reported Tuesday that Duggan was indicted in the U.S. on charges including conspiracy to unlawfully export defense services to China, conspiracy to launder money and violations of the arms control act.
The allegations stem from work he did with the Test Flying Academy of South Africa between 2010 and 2012, the newspaper reported.
A former Harrier “jump jet” pilot, Duggan moved to Australia in the late 2000s and set up a business offering tourist flights near Hobart called Top Gun Tasmania, the newspaper reported.
Duggan served as a Harrier pilot from April 1989 to September 2002 with a deployment to Kuwait in 1999, according to an email Nov. 9 from Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jay Hernandez.
A father of six, Duggan renounced his U.S. citizenship a decade ago and has been a permanent Australian resident since 2002, The Australian reported.
His arrest came days after media reports that that dozens of British pilots were recruited to teach the Chinese armed forces how to defeat western warplanes and helicopters.
Neither Hernandez, nor the Army or Navy responded to emails from Stars and Stripes in early November asking if any other former service members are involved with military training in China.
The Air Force is not aware of efforts to recruit its pilots to train the Chinese military, Department of the Air Force spokeswoman Rose Riley said by email Nov. 9.
Duggan was not a fighter pilot, as many media outlets have reported, since he flew Harriers, which are short-takeoff, vertical-landing attack and reconnaissance planes, according to Steve Ganyard, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who logged 4,200 career flight hours in 12 different tactical aircraft as a Marine Corps pilot.
“Anything a Harrier pilot was teaching the Chinese (fighter pilots) was made up or something he read in a book,” Ganyard told Stars and Stripes in a Dec. 14 email. “So in reality he scammed the Chinese by selling something he knew little about. Would imagine they want their money back.”