Court sends Olympic coach to face charges in Poland

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 9:20 PM

PHOENIX -- A former champion wrestler and U.S. Olympic coach is being sent back to his native Poland after a long court battle.

Roman Wroclawski, who has permanent residency in the United States, has called this country home for 20 years.

"I love this country," Wroclawski told 3TV hours after he learned he will be forced to return to Poland.

Wroclawski faces embezzlement charges in his homeland, which date back to the early 1990's.   Authorities there accuse him of stealing equipment and money from a business he ran.

Wroclawski says the charges are the result of a political vendetta.  He says powerful Polish politicians were unhappy with a book he wrote years ago, which was critical of his homeland.

On Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles 9th Circuit cases, refused to reverse a federal judge's decision to extradite Wroclawski.  

Barring intervention from the US State Department, he will report to U.S. Marshals on Wednesday.

The former world champion Greco-Roman wrestler is now a well-known and respected coach in Arizona.  He also spends time training law enforcement officers and military units in hand-to-hand combat, and works with veterans suffering from PTSD.

"He has no criminal record. Beyond that, he's an asset to the community.  He donates thousands of hours of his time to making this country safer," said public defender Dan Kaplan.

Wroclawski remains frustrated with the judge in his case, but says his "heart is happy" with the time he spent in the US.

His wife and children will remain in the U.S.

"For my family, this is a disaster, but the US system educated my children. They graduated from Arizona State University, so I can only say, 'Thank you."
 

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