Earlier this week, we pointed out that our British friends were talking about the indictment of the NatWest 3 as if it had something to do with the Iraq war. Psychologically, the two had become linked, demonstrating that America was out of control and that the UK had some how become subservient to our rampages.
That sounded a little paranoid. Even far-fetched. So we were glad to see confirmation in the Scotsman that this really is the way some Mud Islanders think about things. It’s all here—an irrational America, an acquiescent UK, the Middle East, the jailed bankers. Somehow all connected in the murky mind of writer Stephen Jardine.
The Middle East lies at the heart of the tension. Traditionally, Britain follows its own agenda in the area but as chaos continues in Iraq, in policy terms we’re now increasingly tied to America’s coat tails throughout the region. And even here at home, no-one is safe from harm. What Uncle Sam wants, he gets.
This week I’ve been in Texas interviewing the Scots businessman caught up in the collapse of America’s biggest corporation. Gary Mulgrew and two colleagues allegedly took part in illegal transactions linked to Enron while they worked in Britain for the NatWest Bank.
Any crime was substantially committed here but that didn’t stop America applying for extradition. Even though the United States hasn’t yet ratified the treaty, the British Government happily handed the NatWest Three over on the basis of the charges made, but no evidence.
The NatWest 3—as the three former British bankers facing Enron-related charges are popularly known—must remain in the US while they await their trial and are barred from talking to each other outside the presence of their attorneys, a judge ruled this morning.
Even defendants David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew could not have been surprised that they would have to remain in the US. After all, allowing accused criminals possibly facing decades of jail time to roam the world is not a great way of making sure they show up for trial. But what seems to have shocked the three is that they can’t hang out with each other. It seems they were even planning on living together while they awaited trial.
[More on British bankers “living together” after the jump.]
Texas strippers, a roman a clef, Leonard Cohen, financial structures that resemble the London Underground, transcontinental travel and greedy Brit bankers reaching for giant bonuses. The Observer may have just published the perfect financial scandal article. The bankers, the big deal and the taint of scandal [The Observer]
Three things you can be grateful for on this July Friday. You aren’t in Houston in July. You aren’t in jail. You never did a deal with Enron.
The “NatWest Three” are sitting in the Houston Detention Center right now, hoping their lawyers can persuade a judge to release them on bail. They are scheduled to appear before a magistrate this afternoon for a hearing where they are expected to plead not guilty to the Enron related charges against them.
British trio touches down [Houston Chronicle]