How Asia's white collar felons can avoid extradition to the US

As the UKÆs ôNat West 3ö get taken to the Texas penitentiary wearing boiler-suits and manacles, where can AsiaÆs dodgy dealers remain at large with their ill-gotten gains?
BritainÆs ôNat West 3ö of Giles Darby, Gary Mulgrew and David Bermingham are being flown to the US in the custody of US marshals. They are the bankers who will stand trial for a fraud relating to the collapse of Enron.

They are alleged to have cooked up a deal with EnronÆs CFO Andrew Fastow, whereby a derivatives deal was closed out, Enron paying the marked-to-market value and these individuals then creaming off the lionÆs share personally, amounting to several million dollars apiece, rather than the money going to the swaps counterparty, National Westminster Bank. If Enron had not gone bust, the background of this complex transaction might never have been revealed.

A long legal and media campaign focused not on whether the bankers were innocent or guilty, (though the three maintain that they are innocent of the wire fraud charges). Under the UKÆs 2003 Extradition Act of 2003, the three can be extradited to the USA under a fast track system, originally designed to handle terrorists.

At present, the US has not ratified its side of the bilateral treaty, but is still obtaining the menÆs extradition. Given that the US is using its powers to ship over financiers, it has occurred to the UK finance community in the City of London that they might be next. With feelings driven not so much by remorse, but the exasperation of possibly getting caught, to where could sharp practitioners abscond in Asia and stay out of the grasp of sanctimonious Uncle Sam?

Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore are all out. They have bilateral extradition treaties in place with the US. Thailand might sound a nice place to sip your fugitive pina colada, but unfortunately thatÆs out. The happy-go-lucky Thais have also been square enough to execute an extradition treaty with the US. India also has one.

South Korea, Philippines, Myanmar? DonÆt go there either. America's tentacles extend there too.

To enjoy your loot, and stay out of reach of the long arm of Yankee law, make your way to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China or Indonesia.

With that in mind, having worked with two-thirds of the æNat West 3Æ, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, in Nat West in 1988, I wrote to them six months ago saying that they might consider living in Bali. They didnÆt respond, but it transpires that their passports were taken from them.

Unluckily, in America, the bankers, if convicted, won't be permitted to declare bankruptcy to avoid fines, nor is there anyone they can finger via a plea bargain, given that Jeffrey Skilling has already been convicted.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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