Tesler No Longer Fighting Extradition; Faces Federal Criminal Charges in U.S.

A British solicitor is abandoning his battle against extradition and flying to the United States to face corruption charges, his legal advisers have announced.

Jeffrey Tesler, 62, is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to bribe senior officials in Nigeria. His solicitors say he will leave the U.K. within 28 days, but that is just an estimation. Tesler may take longer before heading to the U.S.

Tesler, who has dual British-Israeli nationality, fought a long legal campaign to avoid extradition.

Last month the High Court in London ruled he could be extradited. They said there was a sufficient American connection to justify his removal for trial.

His lawyers argued extradition should be blocked because the case also had “strong links” to the U.K., and British prosecutors were carrying out their own investigation.

Tesler, who has lived in Tottenham, north London, for more than 50 years, was due to make a last-ditch application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. But last Wednesday, Tesler withdrew his appeal.

Tesler and another U.K. citizen were indicted on Feb. 17 last year by a federal grand jury in Houston, accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It seems unreasonable for the U.S. government to hold a U.K. citizen criminally liable for violations of a U.S. law, but as long as the U.S. government can prove sufficient ties to the U.S. arising from the alleged criminal conduct, Tesler’s charges will stand.

The case is part of an investigation into Houston-based KBR over claims it bribed officials to win contracts to build a liquefied-natural gas project in Nigeria. In February 2009, KBR agreed with former parent company Halliburton to pay $579 million to resolve U.S. criminal and regulatory charges related to the Nigeria project.

Tesler has been accused of being hired as the agent of a four-company joint venture, to bribe Nigerian officials out of a U.S. $132 million slush fund. The alleged bribes went towards securing U.S. $6 billion worth of contracts on behalf of the Nigerian government, to build and expand the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas terminal.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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