Russian-born Perth internet millionaire Zhenya Tsvetnenko’s latest attempt to get out of jail before an extradition hearing to face a US court over claims he was part of a multi-million text message scam has failed.
The former playboy has been in prison since December 2018 after being charged by New York authorities in connection with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
He applied for bail in January, however he was deemed a flight risk. The 39-year-old then launched a Federal Court challenge to the decision in February however that was unsuccessful.
Last month, the father-of-two appealed that decision before the full bench of the Federal Court, with his lawyer Anthony Young QC arguing his client’s special circumstances had not been properly considered.
Mr Young also argued the findings by the magistrate that there “was no likely deterioration” of Mr Tsvetnenko’s health if he was detained in custody, and that he posed a real flight risk was “legally unreasonable”.
Mr Tsvetnenko suffers from a painful spinal condition that requires hydrotherapy.
Yesterday, the Federal Court handed down its decision saying there was no “jurisdictional error in the magistrate’s decision” and that the primary Federal Court judge was correct to dismiss the application for judicial review.
Perth magistrate Joe Randazzo knocked back Mr Tsvetnenko’s first bid for bail in January, ruling he posed too much of a flight risk.
Mr Tsvetnenko then took his fight to the Federal Court to have the decision overturned.
But Justice Neil McKerracher ruled in February that Magistrate Randazzo’s decision should be upheld.
He also said bail should only be available in “special circumstance in extradition cases”.
Mr Tsvetnenko then launched an appeal against that decision to the full bench of the Federal Court. That matter was heard in April.
Today, Justices Anthony Besanko, Katrina Banks-Smith and Craig Colvin dismissed the application and ordered Mr Tsvetnenko pay the Commonwealth’s court costs.
The US Attorney’s Office has alleged Mr Tsvetnenko and his co-offenders in the “auto-subscription” scheme charged mobile phone customers $US9.99 per month for unsolicited, recurring text messages about horoscopes, celebrity gossip and trivia between 2011 and 2013.
They say illegal profits totalling more than $US150 million were used to fund lavish lifestyles, including expensive holidays, luxury cars and gambling.
Others nabbed in the investigation include Darcy Wedd and Fraser Thompson, who were sentenced to 10 years and five years behind bars, respectively.
Mr Tsvetnenko is expected to face an extradition hearing in August.