The man who allegedly armed terrorist groups, including the Palestinian Liberation Front, and in the past has been accused of arming the Palestinian terrorists who in 1985 hijacked the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro, will stand trial in the United States, ABC News has learned.
The government of Spain approved the extradition of Monzer Al Kassar today.
The Syrian-born arms dealer was arrested in Spain in June 2007 on terrorism charges brought in the Southern District of New York.
A longtime Spanish resident, Kassar has been dubbed the Prince of Marbella for his opulent lifestyle.
An indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York June 8, 2007, charged Kassar with supplying "military equipment to such factions in Nicaragua, Brazil, Cyprus, Bosnia, Croatia, Somalia, Iran, and Iraq, among other countries. Some of these factions have included known terrorist organizations, such as the Palestinian Liberation Front, the goals of which included attacks on United States interests."
Al Kassar is also alleged by the United States to have supplied arms to the Colombian narcoterrorist organization FARC.
The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed the extradition approval when asked by ABC News.
"We are advised that on Friday, June 6, Spain's Council of Ministers approved the extradition of Monzer al Kassar to the Southern District of New York to face the criminal charges filed against him," said Yusill Scribner, a U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman.
The U.S. indictment also alleges he ran an international network of co-conspirators, falsified the end-user certificates required to ship arms and laundered his money through numerous dummy companies.
In the past, Al Kassar has survived prosecutions unscathed. He was acquitted by Spain's high court in 1995 of a charge of piracy in connection with the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro by Palestinian guerrillas.
His lengthy arrest record obtained from federal officials by ABC includes such charges as car theft, hashish dealing and founding terror groups.