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Natwest Three Will Be Released Owing $6.1m

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Three disgraced bankers, the so-called "NatWest Three", who were convicted in the US of conspiring with former Enron executives to dupe the bank out of $20m, are to be released from a British jail in October after serving just half of their sentence and failing to meet a pledge to repay the money they stole.

Gary Mulgrew, Giles Darby and David Bermingham, former bankers at the investment banking unit NatWest Greenwich, which is now part of taxpayer-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland, are to be released on tag from Ford open prison on the Sussex coast this autumn.

The men were handed a 37-month sentence in February 2008 by US district judge Ewing Werlein. Had they not been transferred to the UK last January, it is likely they would have been forced to serve at least 85% of their sentence behind bars. If they had been convicted in a British court and failed to meet a subsequent confiscation order, they would have had their jail terms extended.

The bankers waged an unsuccessful campaign against extradition to the US under the deeply unpopular Extradition Act 2003. The four-year battle won support from business leaders including the British Airways chairman Martin Broughton, GlaxoSmithKline chairman Sir Chris Gent, Icap chief executive Michael Spencer, retail tycoon Sir Philip Green and London Stock Exchange chairman Chris Gibson-Smith.

Mulgrew, Darby and Bermingham at first protested their innocence but after transferring to Texas they changed tack, each entering guilty pleas. Outside court, friends and family insisted they had done so under duress.

Handing down the sentence, judge Werlein said the three must repay "every dollar" of the $7.3m they gained from defrauding NatWest. Bermingham and Darby each surrendered $500,000, with Mulgrew handing over a further $250,000. However, almost $6.1m remains owing to RBS.

The bank has contacted the convicted fraudsters, who told it they have little or no assets after years waging a battle against extradition. A spokesperson said: "We are continuing to engage with both the individuals and their legal representatives to bring this matter to a close."

Seeing as this involves RBS the taxpayer will pay?

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If they did spend those millions in their campaign against extradition and drawing attention to the injustice of the 2003 act (and therefore cannot repay the taxpayer), them IMO it was taxpayers' money well spent. Having a situation whereby a foreign country can unilaterally extradite a British citizen for alleged crimes committed on UK soil, potentially without ever even having visited the extraditing country, is utterly unacceptable. And as the case of the Asperger's computer hacker shows, it's not just millionaire bankers that are at risk from this.

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Seeing as this involves RBS the taxpayer will pay?

Off topic but I read yesterday that British taxpayers are paying to lobby against Obama reforming banks, as RBS own a loss making subsidiary in the States (Citizens Bank of America). This bust US bank (owned by us - lost $929M last year) has spent over $240,000 on lobbying against the Credit Card Act of 2009.

Edited by HostPaul TAFKA Rover2000

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Natwest three - rich *ankers. At the time of the campaign, bankers as a whole were definitely respectable, not in disgrace as now.

We have also a current story of the same extradition trap. What will happen to Gary McKinnon? He appears to be a waste of space[1], but not remotely in the same league as crooked city bankers.

At a wild guess, he gets extradited, but the US courts show a fair degree of leniency to try and defuse all that political pressure, then he gets shipped back here. All at taxpayer expense, of course.

[1] from media reports, which may or may not give a fair picture.

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