Radu and Diana Nemes, who lived in western Washington state, are facing extradition to Romania, where they were charged with tax evasion for hiding some $68 million in diesel fuel profits from the Romanian government. The FBI released photos of an elaborate underground bunker discovered when feds raided their home last month.
Bombshell new photos reveal an elaborate bunker that a pair of fugitive Romanian tax cheats secretly built at their Washington state home.
Radu Nemes and his wife, Diana, were taken into custody in March for allegedly conspiring to hide at least $68 million in taxes from their home country, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
They have not been charged with a crime in the U.S., but were currently facing extradition to Bucharest, where they’ve been charged with tax evasion.
FBI investigators said the couple ran a vast, crosscontinental money laundering scheme to hide cash gained from the tax scam, which involved profits from one million tons of diesel fuel they sold between May 2011 and July 2012, the newspaper said.
The pair allegedly avoided paying tariffs on the fuel by reporting it as a lower quality gas, investigators said.
The scheme allegedly involved high-ranking Romanian officials, as well as banks in Dubai, Romania and the U.S.
The Nemeses came to the U.S. on visitor visas in 2011 — which have since expired — and set up several sham companies in western Washington to hide the cash, feds say.
Meanwhile, the duo lived high on the hog, splurging millions on a log cabin home in Yelm, some 60 miles south of Seattle, a yacht, construction equipment, boxes of gold coins and other real estate.
A Seattle-based FBI agent said in a recently unsealed affidavit that the couple’s posh lifestyle was “funded primarily, if not exclusively, with the proceeds of their Romanian tax evasion scheme,” the Post-Intelligencer reported.
United States Attorney’s Office
The bunker was discovered when federal agents raided their home on Vail Road Southeast in Yelm on March 18.
Inside, agents found an elaborate setup that would rival many city-dwellers’ first New York City digs and would have allowed the couple to hunker down for several months.
The subterranean pad, which could be sealed from the inside, was outfitted with a full kitchen, appliances, several beds and enough food, water and supplies to make the most hardcore doomsday nut blush.
“That bunker could comfortably have housed the entire family for months if not years, given the supply of food found in storage in that structure,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said in the affidavit.
Agents also found an arsenal of nine weapons at the home, including an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities said.
Since the arrest, the alleged scammers were being held in a federal detention center in the Seattle suburbs.
Diana Nemes, who is pregnant, is fighting her detention, saying that the lengthy incarceration is putting her unborn child in harm’s way.
She was set to make an appearance in U.S. District Court on Monday.
United States Attorney’s Office
Radu Nemes, however, is not fighting to be freed.
Their extradition hearing is scheduled to begin May 22.
According to the Post-Intelligencer, the couple’s lawyer, Martha Boersch, said the case was nothing more than a garden variety tax dispute.
“Ms. Nemes and her husband operated several companies in Romania that were highly profitable, and were engaged in lawful commercial activities,” Boersch wrote to the court.
“At most, there appears to be a tax dispute about the amount of excise tax paid on diesel fuel,” Boersch said.