Spectator on US-UK extradition

The most recent edition of the Spectator (a British political magazine, edited by the Tory MP Boris Johnson) protests against the one-sided extradition agreement passed in 2003. In this case, it’s three bankers who’ve been finger-pointed by the US authorities, who do not need to offer evidence:

Last week, three former investment bankers with the NatWest, David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, took the extraordinary step, via a judicial review in the High Court, of asking the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate them. They did this because an investigation by the SFO presents the only means by which they can defend themselves before being extradited to the United States on charges of defrauding their former employer of $7 million. Never mind that the alleged offences were committed on British soil against a British bank, the British legal system has entirely washed its hands of their case. A district judge at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court has simply ruled that under the 2003 Extradition Act the men should be sent to be tried in Texas, without any evidence of their guilt being offered by the Americans.

The leader column then goes on to demonstrate “loose” connections between their dealings and the Enron scandal. But it’s not the first time someone has been fingered for extradition to the US without even setting foot there (Babar Ahmed is another, currently awaiting extradition). The piece also mentions Lotfi Raissi, who was fingered in 2001 for supposedly training some of the 9/11 hijackers, and when the Americans were asked for evidence, they didn’t produce any. (The fact that IRA gun-runners have never been extradited because their lawyers convinced courts that they couldn’t face a fair trial in the UK is also mentioned; the three bankers awaiting extradition won’t get legal aid, and their costs could run into millions of dollars.)

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