Azara Blog: UK court says three bankers should be extradited to the US without probable cause

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Date published: 2006/02/21

The BBC says:

Three British bankers have lost their High Court battle against extradition to the US to face charges over the collapse of energy giant Enron.

Lord Justice Laws ruled that the case involving the former NatWest trio was "perfectly properly triable" in the US.

David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby have always maintained their innocence of "wire fraud" and say they should be tried by a UK jury.

The men will now try to take their battle to the House of Lords.

Enron collapsed in 2001 after admitting inflating profits and hiding debts.

The case has generated criticism of extradition laws that mean the US is not required to provide "prima facie" or solid evidence of wrongdoing to extradite a UK citizen.

Britain must still provide the US with evidence of "probable cause" if it wishes to extradite someone from America.
The judgement marks the first test case in the UK under the government's Extradition Act 2003 - which was developed in the wake of the 11 September attacks in 2001.

The decision prompted the men's solicitor Mark Spragg to warn that the case would have far-reaching consequences.

"The US justice system has a long and aggressive extra-territorial reach, and will increasingly apply for the extradition of UK citizens for allegedly criminal conduct committed against UK institutions," he added.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Bermingham added he was saddened that the government was using its citizens as "political currency".

The case has provoked widespread debate in the UK.

Company bosses are concerned that the treaty has created an unequal balance between the US and UK.

Yes, Mr Blair time and again has put the interests of the US government above the interests of the citizens of the UK. Needless to say, he will be paid back in full when he rakes in money on the US lecture circuit after the UK finally manages to get rid of him.

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