American wanted by FBI arrested in Indonesia for suspected child sex crimes

Russ Medlin (centre back) is seen at Jakarta police headquarters during a press conference on June 16, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS, AFP) - A United States national wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a bitcoin scam has been arrested in Indonesia and charged under a child protection law for suspected sex crimes, Indonesian police said on Tuesday (June 16).

Russ Albert Medlin was arrested at his residence in Jakarta on Monday after police questioned three minors, and he was suspected of sex crimes, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told a streamed news conference.

Medlin, who entered the South-east Asian nation on a tourist visa last year, was nabbed after three teenage girls alleged that he had paid to have sex with them, police said.

If convicted under Indonesia's child protection laws, Medlin could face up to 15 years in prison, police said, adding that they confiscated more than US$20,000 (S$28,000) in cash from the suspect.

"After the arrest, we checked his identity," Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told reporters on Tuesday, adding Medlin was sought by foreign law enforcement agencies.

Another police officer said that Medlin could face extradition to the United States.

Medlin has been on an FBI wanted list for crimes related to an investment scam in bitcoin stocks, Mr Yunus said, adding that the scam totalled US$722 million.

Indonesian authorities said they were coordinating with the American embassy.

The US Embassy in Jakarta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm Medlin was on the FBI's wanted list.

According to the Nevada State sex offender public website, a Russ Albert Medlin was listed as a "non compliant" tier-two offender - the second-most serious - with a Las Vegas address.

In December, the US Justice Department said three men had been arrested in an alleged fraud that raised US$722 million from investors lured by fake bitcoin mining earnings.

Prosecutors in the US allege that Medlin headed the "BitClub Network", which took money from investors in a "high-tech Ponzi scheme".

From April 2014 through December 2019, the group attracted unsuspecting investors using fraudulent earnings purported to come from the network's mining pool, according to prosecutors.

It was not immediately clear if US authorities would seek Medlin's extradition in the cryptocurrrency case.

"We are still waiting for a request from the US Embassy," Jakarta police's special investigation director Roma Hutajulu said on Tuesday.

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