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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Enron mother's anger over treaty
Gary Mulgrew
Gary Mulgrew leaves the federal courthouse in Houston, Texas
A leading Labour politician and mother of one of the former NatWest bankers extradited to the US on fraud charges has criticised her son's treatment.

MSP Trish Godman said the treaty under which her son Gary Mulgrew was extradited was "a licence to breach the rights of British citizens".

Mr Mulgrew offered his shares in Celtic Football Club to cover his bail.

Ms Godman said the men should have faced trial in the UK and she hit out at her colleagues' views on the case.

The MSP for West Renfrewshire is also the deputy presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Mulgrew, 44, was managing director of NatWest's US banking subsidiary, GNW.

Trish Godman MSP
The treaty under which my son was extradited is one-sided, unjust and ignores the principles of due process
Trish Godman MSP
Gary Mulgrew's mother

He was extradited to the US on Thursday along with David Bermingham and Giles Darby.

Under the Extradition Act 2003 the men can be extradited to the US under a fast-track process, and tried there.

The US has not yet ratified the treaty, which critics say means the UK does not have a reciprocal legal arrangement.

The men pleaded not guilty in court on Friday to charges that they made more than 1m each out of a complex fraud in which their former employer NatWest was an alleged victim.

It is alleged by the US justice department that the men advised NatWest, now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, to dispose of an Enron-related offshore company for less than it was worth.

The men were freed on bail until next Friday but they must remain in Houston.

Ms Godman said her son deserved better treatment.

'Facing ruin'

"The treaty under which my son was extradited is one-sided, unjust, ignores the principles of due process and is a licence to breach the rights of British citizens," she said.

"I also have grave concerns over the way ministers and most Labour MPs dealt with their case before they went to America."

Her criticism came as the wife of Mr Bermingham revealed she feared that the men would face financial ruin if they were not allowed to return to the UK.

All the witnesses, documents and evidence are over here
Emma Bermingham
Wife of David Bermingham

Emma Bermingham said none of the men had the means to support themselves financially if they were forced to remain in the US until their trial, which could take up to two years to prepare.

She said Mr Darby and Mr Mulgrew both had businesses which would be difficult to maintain if they were prevented from travelling home.

If the judge forbids them to return full-time, Mrs Bermingham said they would ask to be allowed to spend a fortnight each month in the UK.

"All the witnesses, documents and evidence are over here. It would be great if they could spend time with their families and also do a bit of work," she added.

David Bermingham and his wife Emma
Mrs Bermingham said her husband would ask for time in the UK

Speaking from her home in the Oxfordshire village of Goring, Mrs Bermingham, 39, said if they were refused permission to come home it would be better if they were held in an open prison rather than having to support themselves until their trial.

She said at the moment all three men were staying at the home of her husband's lawyer Dan Cogdell.

"It is a very unusual situation. It's totally bizarre but it's a great result. He said he would keep an eye on them rather than them having to go into a state penitentiary," she said.

Mr Mulgrew's mother, Ms Godman, said the allegations against her son and his two colleagues focused on the apparent defrauding of a British bank, NatWest, and that the offence took place within the UK.

She added: "Should that be the case then they ought to face trial here and, if convicted, accept the consequences.

"Crimes allegedly committed in Britain by British citizens should be tried here."

Men bailed

The MSP criticised her colleagues for the "deliberate choice of pejorative language they used when referring to my son and his colleagues".

She said this was made "brutally plain" during recent debates at both Westminster and Holyrood.

The court in Texas demanded $100,000 (55,000) from each of the men as bail, pending their trial on charges relating to the collapsed US giant Enron.

Mr Mulgrew, originally from Glasgow, had just $20,000 (11,000) but offered Celtic shares to make up the difference.

The shares are currently valued at about 24p.


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