Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 6 News List

UK `NatWest Three' extradicted to US

AGENCIES , LONDON

Three former NatWest bankers left Britain on a flight to Houston, Texas, yesterday after surrendering to US marshals for extradition to face fraud charges relating to collapsed energy company Enron.

The bankers left on a Continental Airlines flight from Gatwick Airport, south of London, their spokeswoman said.

David Bermingham, one of the three, who travelled to Croydon police station with his wife Emma, told reporters earlier: "It's a sad day for you guys. I expect most of you are British, so you got let down today by your own government."

Bermingham said the three were hopeful about prospects for bail, which will be considered at a hearing scheduled for today in Houston.

"We are optimistic. We are hopeful we will get bail," he said.

The fate of the bankers -- David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew -- has ignited widespread outrage in Britain, where they are known as the NatWest Three.

The political controversy surrounding the case centers on a treaty signed by the US and Britain that permits either country to extradite citizens of the other while supplying limited evidence for a case. It was introduced as a tool to fight terrorism, but the US is now using it in white collar crime cases.

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