Risk & Compliance

“NatWest Three” Head to US for Trial

After futile efforts to fight extradition, three British bankers will fly to Houston this week to face fraud charges related to Enron. Their cause ...
Tim ReasonJuly 10, 2006

Examine our Enron archive

Three British bankers have exhausted their efforts to fight extradition to the United States, and will be flown to Texas on Thursday, July 13, to face fraud charges related to Enron, Bloomberg reports.

David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew, and Giles Darby, former executives at Greenwich NatWest, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, lost an appeals to the European Court of Human Rights. The British House of Lords had earlier refused to hear their case after they lost an appeal to the British High Court, according to published reports.

The three executives have repeatedly argued that they should stand trial in Britain for offenses alleged to have occurred there.

U.S. prosecutors have charged that the three convinced their employers to invest in an off-balance-sheet partnership that was controlled by former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow and a former senior aide, Michael Kopper. According to an account in the Financial Times, the British bankers later persuaded Greenwich NatWest to sell its stake in the partnership for $1 million, far less than it was worth. London’s Daily Telegraph reported that the excess value was $20 million, of which $12 million was shared by Fastow and Kopper.

The extradition has caused an uproar in British political and business circles, particularly since it is based on a US-British treaty that the US Senate has not yet ratified. According to Bloomberg, U.K. Home Office Minister Patricia Scotland plans to travel to the US this week to speak with US Senators.

Bloomberg reports that 39 well-known U.K. businessmen, including British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton and billionaire Philip Green have demanded that the British government stop the extradition.