|Trans Air stewardess Marina Talashkova. (HO)
TORONTO -- A Russian flight attendant waved to her friends in a court on Tuesday as she braced herself to fight extradition to the United States on fraud charges.
Marina Talashkova, 24, of Yekaterinburg, is wanted on charges relating to a multimillion-dollar Internet fraud involving the sale of vehicles.
She was remanded until March 19 when Canadian justice officials must receive the case from American authourities, court heard Tuesday. At that point, Canadian authorities have 30 days to decide whether to proceed with the extradition.
"We plan on vigorously defending the money laundering charges as we have seen no credible evidence showing that she's aware of or was involved in that activity," her lawyer, Tyler Hodgson, said outside of court.
Talashkova's three friends in court described her as an "open-hearted woman with lots of friends.
"She has a boyfriend waiting for her in Russia and he's hoping they'll soon be re-united," said one friend, who wished to remain anonymous.
Igor Kiykov, senior counsel for Consulate General of the Russian Federation, said Talashkova's mother visited her in jail last week.
"They are treating her quite well in jail. Canadian prisons are the best I've seen abroad and she has been given access to Russian books," said Kiykov, who added she maintains her innocence.
"Still, she's a depressed 24-year-old woman because she has been deprived of her normal life and liberty, enjoying the finer things in her life," he said.
Talashkova was arrested Jan. 15 at Toronto's Pearson airport after stepping off a Russian-based Transaero Airlines aircraft.
She was detained at the request of the U.S., which is seeking her extradition to Nevada to stand trial on a slew of fraud-related offences, police said.
Talashkova was among six people charged last December by U.S. police for her alleged role in an Internet scheme in which hundreds of buyers were defrauded out of up to $4.2 million in the sale of vehicles, motorcycles, boats and motor homes.
The vehicles, including some high end luxury models, were allegedly posted for sale on websites, including eBay Motors, Auto Trader, Yahoo Auto, Edmunds.comand Craigslist.
Would-be customers, using PayPal accounts, deposited payments into a number of bank accounts. But no vehicles were ever delivered, police said.
Talashkova faces charges, including conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.