Australia approved a U.S. request to extradite a Marine veteran who has been charged with training Chinese military pilots, according to a Australian Attorney-General statement reported Thursday by Reuters.
Australian police arrested Daniel Edmund Duggan in October on what were then undisclosed charges. A 2017 indictment unsealed on Dec. 9 charged Duggan, who served as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps, with training Chinese nationals to fly fighter jets beginning in 2010 or earlier.
In exchange for the training, the indictment alleges that Duggan received compensation from “a business firm based in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) that acquired military training, equipment and technical data for the PRC government and military.”
The indictment alleges that in 2010 a South African flight school employing Duggan worked with the Chinese business to acquire a decommissioned U.S. Navy jet trainer, a T-2 Buckeye, for training Chinese nationals.
Allegedly part of a conspiracy that includes a former U.S. Navy pilot, Duggan faces two counts of violating U.S. arms control laws, one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of conspiracy.
The U.S. Justice Department filed its extradition request on Dec. 9 — the same day that the charges were unsealed — and gave Australian officials until Dec. 25 to make a decision on the request, Reuters reported.
Duggan has said he served in the Marine Corps for 13 years, including as an AV-8B Harrier pilot and an instructor pilot, and separated in 2002, according to The Associated Press.
Duggan’s lawyer, Dennis Miralis, did not immediately respond to a Marine Corps Times request for comment. Miralis has previously said that Duggan is an Australian citizen who has renounced his U.S. citizenship, and he has denied that his client committed any crime, Reuters reported.
Miralis argued on Dec. 16 that Australia shouldn’t grant the extradition request because the country doesn’t have a crime on its books comparable to the U.S. charges, The Guardian reported.
“Australia does not have an arms embargo on China, Australia has not sanctioned China, therefore the extradition should fail on the basis it does not meet the requirements of dual criminality,” the lawyer said, according to The Guardian.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.