‘NatWest Three’ banker jailed after falling foul of UK’s ‘lop-sided’ extradition deal with the US calls on Boris Johnson to save British tycoon Mike Lynch from same fate
- David Bermingham calling for the agreement to be axed in the wake of the case
- He praised the Prime Minister for
A businessman jailed after falling foul of the UK’s ‘lop-sided’ extradition treaty with America has called on Boris Johnson to save British tech tycoon Mike Lynch from the same fate.
Once hailed as ‘Britain’s answer to Bill Gates’, Dr Lynch, 54, the founder of the Autonomy software company, faces up to 25 years in prison after being accused of over-valuing the firm when it was sold for £7 billion to US firm Hewlett Packard in 2011.
David Bermingham, one of the so-called ‘NatWest Three’ bankers extradited to the US on similar charges in 2006, said Mr Johnson ‘needs to scrap the unfair, lop-sided extradition agreement between the UK and the US’.
Jail fears: Tycoon Mike Lynch, who was once hailed as ‘Britain’s answer to Bill Gates’ faces up to 25 years behind bars after being accused of over-valuing the firm
His plea came as former Brexit Secretary David Davis stepped up his crusade against the treaty he launched in the MoS last week.
Mr Davis has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on her to do all she can ‘to spare Dr Lynch from extradition’.
Cambridge PhD Dr Lynch has already been investigated by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office which found he had no case to answer.
He is now awaiting a judgment after a marathon High Court civil fraud action brought against him by HP.
However, the US Department of Justice has launched extradition proceedings on charges of wire and securities fraud and conspiracy – all denied by Dr Lynch.
Mr Bermingham, 57, knows only too well the uphill struggle Dr Lynch now faces, after he and his two colleagues were extradited, then jailed in the US as part of a plea-bargain.
Lobbied: Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on her to do all she can to ‘spare Dr Lynch from extradition’
He paid tribute to Mr Johnson who, as his then MP for Henley, fought to amend the 2003 extradition treaty.
‘I hope Boris follows through on the comments he made in Parliament this week,’ said Mr Bermingham.
‘He drew a clear line between the case of Anne Sacoolas and Mike Lynch’s – and so he should.
‘If Boris takes any position other than saying this law needs to change, we’ll remind him of all the times when he argued the complete opposite.’
In 2013, a clause called the ‘forum bar’ was added to the treaty. It prevents extradition where a substantial part of the alleged crime took place in the ‘requested state’ – in this case England – and where it would not be in the interests of justice.
Dr Lynch’s lawyers are expected to argue the bar should apply in his case, but Mr Bermingham said that even if he blocked extradition, Dr Lynch would never be able to leave Britain safely again.
Praised: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had tribute paid to him for fighting for change in the extradition treaty between Britain and the US
‘The US indictment never goes away and every time he travels abroad his name will show up on an Interpol Red Notice and he could be put on the next plane to America,’ he said.
‘Conversely, if you accept extradition, the moment you set foot in the US, your goose is cooked, because about 97 per cent of cases end up guilty, usually after a plea bargain.’
Last night, Mr Davis told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Boris Johnson himself has now admitted our extradition arrangements with the US are unbalanced.
‘Frankly, I would go further and say they are downright biased and unfair as far as UK citizens are concerned.’