Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

British lawyer faces US extradition over bribery case

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The home secretary will be asked to approve the judge's extradition ruling

A UK judge has ruled that a British solicitor should be extradited to the US to face corruption charges.

Jeffrey Tesler, 61, from London, is accused by US authorities of involvement in a conspiracy to channel bribes to senior officials in Nigeria.

Mr Tesler was arrested last year following an extradition request from the US authorities.

It is alleged he channelled money to Nigerian officials, to obtain contracts valued at more than $6bn (£4bn).

Bribes were allegedly paid from a $132m (£88.4m) slush fund to influence the awarding of a construction contract for a natural gas plant on Bonny Island in Nigeria.

District Judge Caroline Tubbs, sitting at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday, said Mr Tesler's extradition to face a trial in the US should go ahead.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson will be asked to approve the judge's decision, in which she rejected Mr Tesler's attempts to remain in the UK.

The Briton's legal team said an appeal would be lodged against the judge's ruling.

Mr Tesler's defence team argued at an earlier hearing that the alleged corruption was not an extradition offence, adding that sending the solicitor to the US would breach his right to a family life.

His lawyers also argued that his access to a fair trial was compromised by the passage of time because the alleged crimes date back as far as 1994.

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