Missing corruption suspect Tony Estrada taunted authorities to ‘come over here and get me’ in a phone call to the LA Times this week, in which he said he was ‘floating around . . . in the jungles of Brazil’.
The former Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum employee faces embezzlement and conspiracy charges alongside leading US rave promoters Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, and went on the run after reportedly liquidating his US assets six months ago.
Speaking to the LA Times this week, however, he claimed to be the ‘whistleblower’ who alerted authorities about the case and insisted he is innocent.
“I am the one who provided the information about the corruption and I have been betrayed,” Estrada, 72, complained, “Instead of being a hero, I am a ‘criminal’.” (LA Times: http://lat.ms/H95txe )
In more developments Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami both appeared in court in LA asking the judge to unfreeze their assets after being released the week before on US$1.2milion bail each. Each promoter reportedly claimed the huge bail payments mean they are unable to do business, though prosecutors instead said Pasquale in particular is ‘fabulously wealthy’. (CBS News)
Prosecutor Jennifer Snyder said the bail sums were set to allow taxpayers to have a chance to recover the alleged missing monies.
“It permits you to seize up to three times the value of the loss or the taking, so in this case the loss that we estimate from the charges was approximately $2.5 million,” she said. (http://cbsloc.al/H9VbII )
Spin Magazine, meanwhile, published a feature asking ‘is this (case) part of the war on raves?’ to be told by prosecutors that it was a straightforward ‘paper case’ based on ‘cut and dry’ evidence of wrongdoing.
“When SPIN asked D.A. spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons if the charges leveled at Rotella could be tainted by politics, she actually laughed,” the US magazine reported. “No. There is nothing politically motivated about this,” Gibbons said by phone.” (Spin: http://bit.ly/HPYBVy )
Pasquale and Reza face up to 13 years in jail if convicted.
Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff