Friday, July 14, 2006

Natwest 3 - pour encourager les autres

Am I alone in feeling little sympathy for these guys?
Fact: there was a massive fraud at Enron
Fact: a lot of ordinary people were fleeced and hurt
Fact: many financial institutions facilitated the fraud
Fact: the FBI has a plausible case (see indictment & complaint)

There is something nauseating about the media campaign to protect them. If they stride the globe profiting from international capital markets and transactions, they can hardly go all Little-England when it comes to accountablity. That you might end up in a US maximum security prison, sends good signal to actual and potential white collar criminals.


Matt Lusty said...

I’m not sure that it is purely sympathy for the Natwest 3 that has made the issue so much of a story, rather that there are two main concerns:

- the ability of a fair trial in Houston, where Enron was based and a where high proportion of the population (and therefore jury) will be directly or indirectly affected by the Enron collapse, and

- the non-reciprocal nature of extradition arrangements with the US (as the US has yet to ratify the extradition treaty)

Admittedly there is rather more emphasis on the story than there really should be but surely this is just reflecting the public’s general anti-American sentiment (“US foreign policy has left a deep well of anti-Americanism, with people deeply hostile towards present US policy”, UK Polling Report) and the idea of American hypocrisy as demonstrated by non-reciprocal agreements?

Clive Bates said...

Hi Matt

Well I agree about anti-Americanism, but think that's an explanation rather than a reason. The asymmetric extradition point is more an annoying distraction... but has become the issue. We have extradition arrangements like this with EU member states, Australia and a few others.

I think the fair trial point is a bit of a stretch... the juries will be ruthless weeded by the defence, the appeals process is very thorough. If they have evidence of a crime in their jurisdiction then what choice do they have??? It is good to go after white collar criminals.