Martin Frankel’s passport fraud trial began today in Hamburg, despite promises by the German government to quickly return Frankel to the United States. The trial went forward, according to reports, due primarily to German government plans to press charges for smuggling millions of dollars in diamonds into the country.
German authorities initially had no intentions of charging Frankel with relatively minor fraud charges for the two British and seven Greek passports they found in his possession.
Meanwhile, insurance commissioners in five U.S. states have filed a federal lawsuit asking for more than $600 million in damages from Frankel. He is accused of bilking more than $200 million from insurers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee. In October he was indicted on federal charges in Connecticut. He faces dozens of other state charges, as well.
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