Croatia to extradite whistleblower who alleged Dutch oil firm spent millions in bribes

Monaco

A WHISTLEBLOWER WHO CLAIMS that a major Dutch oil firm paid millions in bribes to officials in return for lucrative contracts, is to be extradited to Monaco, following his arrest in Croatia last summer. Jonathan Taylor, of Southampton, United Kingdom, was a lawyer working for SBM Offshore, a Netherlands-based group of companies that provide services to the global offshore oil and gas industry. In 2012, he leaked documents allegedly showing that SBM Offshore “paid €185 million [$217 million] in bribes in several countries between 2005 and 2011”, in return for being awarded service contracts.

But SBM Offshore accused him of extortion and claimed that he stole proprietary documents and then tried to blackmail his employer, asking for $3 million in exchange for staying silent about the alleged bribes. Following this accusation, authorities in Monaco, which hosts an SBM Offshore regional facility, issued an Interpol “red notice” for Taylor’s detention. A red notice is essentially a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally detain a person of interest, pending a possible extradition.

In July of this year, Taylor was arrested in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where he was holidaying with his family, by local police acting on the Interpol’s red notice. Immediately following his arrest, the government of Monaco sought to have him extradited there “for questioning”, even though he had not been charged with a crime. According to Monegasque police, Taylor was wanted “for questioning to determine whether or he should be charged” with a crime.

Taylor and his lawyers deny the claims against him, which they describe as acts of retaliation for him having blown the whistle on SBM Offshore. Now, however, authorities in Monaco have summoned Taylor to appear before a magistrate, after the Supreme Court of Croatia upheld an extradition ruling that was issued by a lower court earlier this year. This means that Croatian authorities should soon be extraditing Taylor to Monaco, as per the principality’s request. However, Taylor currently remains in Croatia and he and his supporters have urged the Croatian authorities to not comply with Monaco’s extradition request.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 September 2021 | Permalink

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