Ex-US Virgin Islands lawmaker won't fight Italy extradition

AP News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2016 11:54 AM

ROME (AP) — A former lawmaker from the U.S. Virgin Islands has decided not to fight extradition after he was arrested in Italy on an international warrant accusing him of using $90,000 in public funds for personal use, his lawyer said Friday.

Attorney Gianpaolo Ronsisvalle said Wayne James denied the accusation but was willing to return to the Virgin Islands to contest it.

James was arrested without incident on an international warrant at a friend's apartment Wednesday in Nonantola, outside Modena, said Modena police Capt. Luca Treccani.

A Virgin Islands court issued the warrant Oct. 6 accusing James of wire fraud, falsifying documents and embezzlement, Treccani said. The money concerned government funds to research the 1878 labor riot on St. Croix known as Fireburn.

The extradition should take place within 40 days, Ronsisvalle said.

According to press reports in the U.S. Caribbean territory, James is a fashion designer and history buff who has been writing a book about male etiquette. Treccani said James was researching Modena's prized balsamic vinegar for the book, and that police tracked him down after he had appeared in local media.

James served a single, two-year term in the 2009-2011 legislature of the U.S. Caribbean territory.