The case, in which the High Court had identified potential grounds of appeal to the House of Lords, had been expected to challenge the legal status of Britain’s fast track extradition treaty with America.
But today, a committee of Law Lords refused a petition by David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, all former NatWest bankers, for permission to appeal against an order for their extradition.
The so-called NatWest three are accused of defrauding Greenwich Natwest, a subsidiary of the UK’s NatWest, of about $7.3 million. They are alleged to have conspired with Enron executives over the fraudulent sale of an Enron entity in 2000 and were indicted in the US in 2002.
The Lords have also refused an appeal petition by retired businessman Ian Norris, former chief executive of manufacturing giant Morgan Crucible, who sought challenge his extradition to the US on charges of price fixing.
Mark Spragg, solicitor for the Natwest three, said the Home Office had allowed them seven days to apply to the European Court of Human Rights for a stay of the extradition order made last May.
“If we get a stay, then the Home Office has agreed to abide by that pending the European Court of Human Rights hearing of our full application,” he said.
“Obviously we are surprised and disappointed by the decision of the Lords which seems completely out of context given the importance of the matter we were asking them to deliberate on. It seems that now there are no effective safeguards to prevent people being extradited to America,” he said.