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UK Enron bankers extradited to US to face fraud charges

[JURIST] US Marshals took custody of three former NatWest [corporate website] bankers Thursday as the controversial extradition of the three British nationals went ahead as scheduled. Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew will face seven counts of wire fraud for allegedly reaping around 1.5 million pounds each from a fraudulent sale of Enron stock. The three have proclaimed their innocence, and could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted. They are scheduled to attend a bail hearing in Texas federal court on Friday.

On Wednesday, British MPs protested the US-UK extradition treaty as 'lopsided' [JURIST report], calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to re-negotiate the treaty to include a presumption that British citizens accused of committing crimes in the UK should be tried there. The revised UK Extradition Act [text] incorporates the 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty [text, PDF; Statewatch backgrounder] into British law, but the US has not yet ratified the instrument. Currently, the US may request that a UK citizen be extradited upon a simple showing of prima facie evidence, but the US will only extradite a US citizen to the UK if the UK shows that probable cause underlies the extradition request. BBC News has more.

Also on Thursday, UK Home Office minister Baroness Scotland [official profile] traveled to the US to lobby for US ratification [JURIST report] of the extradition treaty. EPolitix has more.

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