Updated: Jan 22, 2021
LONDON, 18 January 2021 – Counsel to Jonathan Taylor, Toby Cadman of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, calls on the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to take immediate steps to prevent the imminent extradition of a whistle-blower to Monaco who disclosed unprecedented bribery and corrupt practices in the oil industry.
Jonathan Taylor has now been held in Croatia on an INTERPOL Red Notice, which has since been withdrawn, and an Extradition Request, that has no proper basis in fact or law, for 174 days.
On 11 January 2010, the Count Court in Dubrovnik ordered his extradition for the second time, ignoring the mountain of human rights concerns that have been comprehensively and articulately argued by his legal team and ignoring the fact that the Monegasque authorities have now confirmed, in writing, that Jonathan is not wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence, but is wanted for the purpose of interrogation by the Investigative Judge. This runs contrary to the INTERPOL legal and regulatory framework and contrary to the extradition framework. It is of some concern that the Court has seemingly glossed over this fundamental failure in the extradition request and his legal team will now need to once again take this to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia which will undoubtedly prolong his forced sojourn in Croatia in the middle of a pandemic.
On 30 July 2020, Jonathan was arrested on an INTERPOL Red Notice issued by Monaco, alleging offences of bribery and corruption. He was held in detention for a number of days before being released on stringent bail conditions that remain in force.
On 1 September 2020, a Court in Dubrovnik first ordered his extradition after having only considered the procedural requirements for extradition, completing ignoring the abundance of material, as they have done once again, submitted by his legal team.
On 12 October 2020, the Supreme Court partially upheld the appeal and returned the matter to the Dubrovnik Court for reconsideration and requested the United Kingdom to provide a statement as to whether it sought his surrender under the European Arrest Warrant Scheme. On 30 October 2020, the UK informed the Court that it would not seek his surrender and on 31 December 2020, the UK exited the European Union and withdrew from the European Arrest Warrant scheme.
The FCDO has repeatedly relied on a wholly unsustainable and entirely disingenuous position in that they do not interfere with judicial proceedings in another sovereign state. That is of course entirely inaccurate as the FCDO does, and rightly so, where the interests of a British national are at stake and they are so fundamental to the rule of law.
The FCDO has indicated that it has been in touch with both the Croatian and Monegasque authorities, although the outcome of those discussions remain unclear.
Prior to the Court ruling on extradition, and just weeks before the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) was due to rule on the request to withdraw or suspend the Red Notice, the Monégasque authorities unexpectedly withdrew the warrant and requested that Jonathan travel voluntarily to Monaco.
To be clear, Jonathan is not a disgruntled employee who has sought to cause trouble for his previous employers. He is, conversely, responsible for the uncovering of possibly the biggest corruption scandal in modern history. He is a whistle-blower. He is a protected witness. He has taken extraordinary steps putting his own personal safety and the economic security of his family at risk in order to ensure that those persons who have engaged in corrupt practices on a truly monumental and unprecedented scale. He is not a criminal. He has not engaged in any criminal conduct, quite the opposite, he has acted in accordance with his own moral compass, and done what many States across the world ask for, namely, where corruption is discovered, it is reported, as it is only through individuals such as Jonathan that instances of corruption can be investigated and it prevented in the future.
He ought to be celebrated and not victimised out of revenge.
Conversely, Monaco has failed to initiate a single criminal investigation into highly credible and well documented allegations of bribery and corruption on the part of SBM Offshore. In fact, in 2018, it refused to extradite an oil executive to the United Kingdom on the very same charges that it now seeks Jonathan’s extradition.
Once again we must highlight the very fact that it is not just Jonathan’s fate which hangs in the balance, it is the very existence of the protections afforded to whistle-blowers and investigative journalists the world over that deserve protection; by taking such steps they are already potentially sacrificing a great deal both professionally and personally and not only do they deserve our gratitude, but they deserve the protection of the law that they have sought to uphold.
-- end --