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Julian
Three British Bankers lose extradition fight over Enron charges

There are two aspects to this case that interest me.

The first is that these men, if they are guilty of anything, are guilty of scamming millions of pounds (sterling) from NatWest (the British bank, who were lending money to Enron) in the London.

At no point did any of them commit a crime inside US territory, or against any US business or citizen, at least according to the judgement made today. At least, we don't really know what, if anything, they wil be charged with beyond the offence described, which at face value looks very much like the kind fo case that should be subject to domestic UK law.

If indeed it should be subject to any law at all - the three men insist that their dealings are entirely legal in the UK anyway, which is why they haven't been charged here. (This is where my cynicism gland starts to give off it's noxious juices - I don't really trust city bankers all that much anyway, and I know that the Serious Fraud Office in the UK is about as much use as wheels on a brick.)

So should the USA expect to be able to charge and extradite foreign citizens that are suspected to have broken a US law, but no law in their home country, against a foreign third party in that home country?

How far does this extend?
Imagine abortion were made illegal in the USA. Should Us prosecuting authorities be able to extradite a British citizen with no particular US connections who gets an legally-permitted-in-Britain abortion in a British hospital?

The other area of concern is the assymetry of the current UK-US extradition laws. After the UK government unilaterally relaxed regulations at the request of US authorities worried about international terrorism, with the promise of future negotiations to review US extradition conditions, no such negotiations have proved fruitful.

The US Constitution (rightly) prevents extradition unless the requesting government can demonstrate that they have Probable Cause.

Should America expect to be able to extradite foreign citizens to America without demonstrating Probable Cause, as they have done in this case?

Should other countries insist that their citizens should be treated no differently than native US citizens not only in the courts (there's no suggestion these men will not get a fair trial) but in the arrest procedure?

If not, should other countries expect reciprocal treatment from the USA in their extradition requests? What negotiation leverage can any country possibly bring to bear against the world's only superpower?
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Bikerdad
QUOTE(Julian @ Feb 21 2006, 02:13 PM)
So should the USA expect to be able to charge and extradite foreign citizens that are suspected to have broken a US law, but no law in their home country, against a foreign third party in that home country?
No, but I'm not certain that this is the case here. They are accused of conspiring with Enron executives in the fraud.

QUOTE
The other area of concern is the assymetry of the current UK-US extradition laws. After the UK government unilaterally relaxed regulations at the request of US authorities worried about international terrorism, with the promise of future negotiations to review US extradition conditions, no such negotiations have proved fruitful.
My guess is that folks like the Belgians with their "we have jurisdiction everywhere" attitude are much of the reason why the US has been less than cooperative. Also, the current state of Constitutional law here makes lowering the bar for extradition tough. I don't see that being amended any time soon.

QUOTE
The US Constitution (rightly) prevents extradition unless the requesting government can demonstrate that they have Probable Cause.

Should America expect to be able to extradite foreign citizens to America without demonstrating Probable Cause, as they have done in this case?
No, but then America should expect to be able to extradite foreign citizens in capital cases with probable cause, yet many European countries refuse...

QUOTE
Should other countries insist that their citizens should be treated no differently than native US citizens not only in the courts (there's no suggestion these men will not get a fair trial) but in the arrest procedure?

As noted, many other European countries already expect different treatment for their citizens in American courts, so insisting (to Americans) on same treatment puts them in a bind. Frankly, I think that the UK should simply revise their extradition laws. Striking the right balance in light of the War on Terror is tricky, but I'm sure the UK can manage it.

QUOTE
If not, should other countries expect reciprocal treatment from the USA in their extradition requests? What negotiation leverage can any country possibly bring to bear against the world's only superpower?
*


Awww, c'mon Julian, not playing the old "big bad superpower" card again, are ya? And remember, we aren't a "superpower", we are a HYPERPOWER!! us.gif us.gif devil.gif
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