Saturday 30 May 2015

'Largest facilitator of child porn on planet' must wait month for FBI case

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 15/08/2013 | 11:57

AN Irishman described by the FBI as "the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet," has been remanded in detention pending a full extradition hearing on September 11 next. 

This morning, Eric Eoin Marques (28), dressed in a grey tracksuit top and jeans, appeared before the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns. 

The alleged charges relate to images on a large number of websites described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children. The US authorities are seeking to extradite Eric Eoin Marques to the state of Maryland to face charges of distributing, conspiring to distribute and advertising child pornography - as well as aiding and abetting advertising of child pornography - as part of a major international investigation.

Patrick McGrath Senior Counsel, for the Attorney General, said that the US authorities were within the 18 day time limit to file a formal extradition request. 

Judge Kearns was this morning (THURS) handed a diplomatic note, a request from the US Attorney General seeking Mr Marques extradition and a document from the Irish authorities certifying the application. 

Senior Counsel Remy Farrell, for Mr Marques, said that he intends to apply for bail as the basis of his detention has changed even though he had previously been refused bail. 

Mr Marques had earlier been arrested and detained on foot of a provisional extradition request by the FBI, which claimed he is involved in the distribution of online child pornography. Mr Marques, who has Irish and US citizenship, was arrested on foot of a warrant that recorded charges of distributing and promoting child pornography on the internet.

The matter came before the High Court this morning (THURS) after Justice Minister Alan Shatter received a formal extradition request from the US authorities.

The US authorities, which sent an FBI special agent to Dublin to testify at the provisional extradition hearing on August 1st last, sought Mr Marques extradition on four charges.  The FBI agent may return to Ireland for the bail and/or extradition hearing. 

If convicted on the charges, Mr Marques faces sentences of up to 30 years in prison. The US claimed Eric Eoin Marques is the sole administrator of the anonymous hosting service.

Mr Marques comes from a respected middle class family and his father Antonio Marques is an architect working with Etihad Rail in the United Arab Emirates.

 Mr Marques was arrested on foot of an extradition warrant issued by a US court on July 29 last.  At an earlier court hearing,  investigating gardai and the FBI both objected to bail being granted.  It was claimed Mr Marques represented a flight risk.

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