Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Could Michael Portillo be extradited to the USA?

A few days ago The Times reported:

The entire board of BAE Systems and several former directors including Michael Portillo, a former UK Secretary of Defence, are being sued by a US pension fund over bribery and corruption claims at the defence group.

The City of Harper Woods Employees’ Retirement Scheme, a public pension fund in Michigan, has accused the board and former directors of intentional, negligent and reckless breaches of their duties as company officers.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC this morning, is seeking unspecified damages and calls for BAE to implement sweeping corporate governance changes.
The blog run by the makers of the film Taking Liberties suggests things may get even more entertaining:

Even though Tony Blair shut down the serious fraud office enquiry into BAE Bribes with the laughable excuse of "National Security", it seems that the authorities on the other side of the pond are less corruptible in their corruption investigations.

The US department of Justice has been investigating the BAE bribes to Prince Bandar, which he freely admits taking. As the £1 billion bungs were covertly facilitated by the Ministry of Defence, there is an increasing list of civil servants, MP's and Ministers (from both the Tories and New Labour) who are facing indictments in the US for bribery.

Now if there was any sensible barriers to extradition from the UK to the US - for example having to provide evidence in a British Court - then New Labour would be spared the embarrassment of having several mandarins, ministers and BAE executives hauled off to the US in chains. However, thanks to the 2003 Extradition act, the US no longer has to provide any evidence to extradite a British National, and all they have to do is fill in a form and off they go.

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