Three former bankers with the UK's NatWest bank were told on Friday that they should be extradited to the US to face fraud charges connected to the collapsed energy company Enron. \nA judge in Bow Street magistrates court in London concluded that the three should be sent for trial in Houston despite their protestations that their alleged crimes took place in the UK and they would not receive a fair trial in Texas, where Enron was based. \nThe three immediately said they would appeal against the decision, which the district judge, Nicholas Evans, admitted might lead to them receiving a "substantial term of imprisonment" if convicted by a US jury. \nEvans has sent the case to the UK home secretary, David Blunkett, who will make the final decision on extradition. The three have six weeks in which to make representations to Blunkett and then have another two weeks to launch a formal appeal once his decision is made, their spokesman said. \nThe three -- David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby -- are alleged to have schemed with Andrew Falstow, Enron's former finance director, and his right-hand man, Michael Kopper, to defraud NatWest. \nThey are not implicated in the collapse of the energy company, however. The three men sat closely together in court yesterday, at times holding their heads in their hands. \nOutside the Bow Street court yesterday, Bermingham urged the British authorities to take up the case so they could face trial here. They believe they will have to sell their homes to cover the cost of a US trial and fear they will be denied bail by the US authorities while they await trial. \nBermingham said it would take "one phone call [by the US] to the Serious Fraud Office or the Crown Prosecution Services and they could bring upon us the might of the UK legal system." \n"We repeat that request to the US government. Bring the action here ... where it belongs," Bermingham said. \n"We will be appealing the decision, not just for ourselves but also for others who will inevitably also be caught up in the government's extradition law changes," he added. \nThe Extradition Act, which became law this year and was designed to speed up action against terrorists, does not require the US to set out a case against the men to secure their extradition. Prior to this, the government could block an extradition if it felt it was unfair. \nMark Spragg, the bankers' lawyer, accused the US government of waiting until the law change was introduced before applying to extradite them. He said the appeal would be on the grounds that the court should have considered the "rights and wrongs" of the extradition in the way the government used to. \nEvans said: "I am told these defendants would welcome a prosecution in the UK as it would give them the opportunity to clear their names." \nHowever, he said that if the SFO did now begin an investigation, by the time it came to any proceedings being taken against the three they could argue the case had taken too long to come to court and should be stayed. \nHe accepted their argument that they would have to leave their homes and family to face trial in the US as an "unattractive position." \n"Serious and complex cases do disrupt family life and interfere with earning a living but that doesn't mean that extradition to face trial is incompatible with [human rights law]," he added. \nThe US authorities have based their case on evidence that the three men gave to the Financial Services Authority. \nThe three are due to reappear at Bow Street on Tuesday for a bail hearing.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
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