Monday 10 February 2020 5:25 pm

Natwest Three banker slams 'pernicious' US-UK extradition treaty

A British banker who was extradited to the US for fraud said the extradition treaty between the two countries is a “pernicious law” that is “designed for one outcome — incarceration”.

Last week, Autonomy founder Mike Lynch was arrested following a US extradition request.

Lynch faces charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in the US related to the 2011 sale of Autonomy to Hewlett Packard (HP) – has said he will contest the extradition.

Writing in The Times today, David Bermingham, one of the so-called Natwest Three, attacked the unfairness of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US.

The Natwest Three were extradited to the US to face fraud charges in connection with the Enron scandal. Bermingham was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

“It is a near statistical certainty that someone extradited to the US will end up guilty, most probably through a plea bargain rather than going to trial, because the criminal justice system in the US is so heavily geared towards this outcome,” he said.

“Extradition becomes, in effect, a summary conviction, without the dull necessity of examining evidence.”

Bermingham also pointed to the case of Anne Sacoolas, who the US is refusing to extradite to the UK to face a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

“As the case of Ms Sacoolas shows, the US looks after its own. Maybe, just maybe, the government will finally grow a spine and realise that acting as a poodle is not the mark of a special relationship with America, but simply supine,” he said.

Yesterday, former Brexit secretary David Davis writing in the Mail on Sunday said that sending Lynch to the US to face trial would “cripple the City and Britain’s ability to determine its own future”.

He said: “We are now looking at the bizarre prospect that a UK citizen could be tried and potentially acquitted by an English judge, where the burden of proof against him is lower, but find himself in a US prison facing a charge where the burden is higher, before the UK case has even been decided.”

Under the treaty there needs to be probable cause for the US to extradite its citizens to the UK, but just reasonable suspicion for Britain to be forced to extradite its citizens in the other direction.