Norris fails in his US appeal

David Hellier
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IAN Norris, the former chief executive of Morgan Crucible, has lost an appeal against a conviction in the US courts of conspiracy in July, City A.M. has learned, leaving him to possibly face a five-year prison term when he is sentenced tomorrow.

Norris, who is the first foreign defendant to face charges in the US arising from a criminal antitrust investigation, lost his appeal last week, according to his UK lawyer Alistair Graham of the law firm White & Case.

Graham says that Norris, who is in his late sixties and has suffered from prostate cancer, has been in a prison in Philadelphia since July.

Morgan Crucible makes body armour, carbon items, ceramics, bearings and other products for the medical, automotive, aerospace and telecommunications industries.

Norris retired from Morgan Crucible in 2002 after battling prostate cancer and was indicted the following year. The cartel, which began in Europe, spread to the US in 1989.

US authorities refused to allow Norris to be extradited on price-fixing charges because such activities weren’t a crime in Britain at the time. They then pressed conspiracy and obstruction counts and a London-based court backed the extradition.

Norris was accused of ordering subordinates to destroy files describing secret talks among European makers of carbon and graphite products about fixing prices.

“The sentencing of Norris will be seen as a significant development in global antitrust enforcement,” said Michael O’Kane, head of business crime at Peters & Peters.