Maltese court denies extradition of Chilean tech investor charged with fraud

Alberto Chang-Rajii spoke at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2014. YOUTUBE
Alberto Chang-Rajii spoke at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2014. YOUTUBE

After a lengthy proceeding, Malta’s judicial system ruled Friday that tech investor Alberto Chang-Rajii would not be extradited to Chile to face charges in his home country.

Chang-Rajii was arrested in Malta in December following an extradition request by Chilean authorities, who want him to face trial for charges including fraud and money laundering. After months of legal wrangling, a court of committal on Friday turned down Chile’s extradition request, finding that the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence and allowing Chang-Rajii to walk free, according to Maltese media reports.

Chang-Rajii is a once high profile tech “investor” also charged with fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In November, the SEC filed fraud charges and an asset freeze against Alberto Chang-Rajii and his Miami Beach-based asset management firm Onix Capital.

The SEC alleges that Chang-Rajii and Onix defrauded investors in promissory notes that “guaranteed” double-digit annual returns, and bilked others who were told their funds would be invested in promising startups, including at least two based in Miami. Between 2012 and March 2016, Chang-Rajii and Onix, an affiliate of his firm, Grupo Arcano, raised about $7.4 million from investors, while misrepresenting the investments offered, the use of the funds raised, and his own background, and he transferred more than $11 million from Onix bank accounts to his personal accounts, according to the SEC complaint filed in U.S. Southern District of Florida. Chile launched its own criminal investigation.

Chang-Rajii, who founded Grupo Arcano in his native Chile, said he made a fortune as an early investor in Google, received his MBA at Stanford University, and was a successful angel investor – all untrue, according to the SEC complaint and numerous media accounts. When his story began to unravel and questions about his company’s health began to surface, he fled to Malta last spring.