Perverse twist in US extradition saga worthy of Kafka

The Daily Telegraph

An attempt by a UK businessman to go voluntarily to face fraud charges in America has been denied and instead he will arrive in MANACLES, escorted by US marshals.

Jeremy Crook, who used to manage the European operation of San Diego-based software company Peregrine Systems, asked for his passport to be returned so he could fly to the US within the next two weeks, but yesterday his request was denied.

Mr Crook will instead have to wait in the UK until a formal extradition warrant is signed by the US. As this will be seen under US law to be an attempt to resist extradition, US marshals will fly over to take Mr Crook back with them and he is likely to be treated on his arrival as a serious criminal suspect, for whom the normal procedure is to be put in hand and foot chains and be kept in a federal detention centre pending a bail hearing.

Jeremy Crook

Mr Crook, who denies charges that he conspired along with former US colleagues to defraud shareholders in Peregrine over several years, wants to return to the UK on bail before the trial in San Diego next April.

He had hoped that in going voluntarily to the US he would be able to win leniency over bail. "I really have to be seen to be co-operating with the US. But the only chance I have had to co-operate has been removed," Mr Crook said.

The 53-year-old is the latest businessman to be extradited to the US on criminal charges. The NatWest Three bankers accused of defrauding their former employer were extradited last month. The US has been trying to extradite a total of 19 people since 2004 over alleged financial crime.

Prosecutors representing the US government argued at a bail hearing at Westminster magistrate's court yesterday that, as Mr Crook had been indicted on fraud charges in the US and extradition proceedings had started against him, they should take their full course and he should not travel to America to face charges until a formal warrant had been signed.

Mr Crook's lawyer, Steve Law, expressed surprise at the move, saying he had recently been given the impression by the US Department of Justice that it was happy for Mr Crook to travel under his own steam to San Diego for the US bail hearing. Mr Crook and Mr Law said it was after the Home Office had been in touch with the DoJ that it changed its mind. The Home Office refused to comment.

Peregrine collapsed in 2002 after it acknowledged there had been irregularities in its accounts. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the DoJ investigated the company and the latter issued an indictment against several US executives.

Mr Crook's name was added to the indictment in October 2004, a year after the UK had passed the Extradition Act, which allows the US to request suspected criminals are turned over to it without having to present evidence in court. If found guilty, Mr Crook could receive an 85-year sentence.

The indictment alleges that Mr Crook and the other executives "conspired to commit a multi-billion-dollar fraud" that caused Peregrine shareholders to lose about $4bn (2.2bn) between them. The company was later sold to Hewlett-Packard. (external - login to view)
The Project Man
To much to say, no-one would go through it all.......

Since ENRON, heads will roll.

Extradition, Long story longer......e.g $20.00 missing from Mom's hand bag. Ask Dad if you can see him in two weeks over the matter, while asking for the keys to the car.

Thank you,

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