in

Three London bankers accused of a £3.9m fraud face trial in the US after the British Home Secretary ordered their extradition to be tried in a court in Texas, where they could be jailed for up to 35 years.

British authorities have signed a court order after months of delay to extradite three former NatWest bankers to the US.

The extradition order, requested by the Enron task force, comes after intense criticism of the Extradition Act 2003, rushed through parliament two years ago in the hope of expediting terrorist cases.

The home secretary now has limited powers of discretion, and his support for the court decision was widely expected. David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby – all of whom deny wrongdoing – will appeal.

The Extradition Act waives the requirement on US prosecutors to set out a prima facie case in Britain. The US has not yet reciprocated this fast-track regime.

The bankers are accused of conspiring with Enron executives, including former finance director Andy Fastow, to embezzle $20m (£11m) from a complex NatWest investment in one of Enron’s infamous off-shore vehicles

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.

One of the authors claiming Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code copied his ideas has admitted he exaggerated his case in an interview with a journalist.