Jonathan Taylor: SBM Offshore

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee 3:41 pm, 9th November 2020

I welcome my hon. Friend’s obvious interest in this case. As she says, my constituent, Jonathan Taylor, is a whistleblower who has provided evidence to numerous agencies across the globe, including our own Serious Fraud Office. He is currently detained in Croatia under a European arrest warrant and is trying to prevent what he describes as a politically motivated extradition to Monaco.

My hon. Friend has stated the Government’s position with no ambiguity—the FCDO cannot and will not interfere in the judicial proceedings of another country—but in this case the FCDO has been explicitly asked by the Croatian court to provide a statement. She has highlighted that the National Crime Agency is not seeking Mr Taylor’s surrender under the EAW, but we do not know whether the FCDO has separately responded to the court. If it has not, why not, and if it has, may we have details of the response? Although my constituent may not be wanted by the NCA, he has been providing information to the SFO regarding the actions of his former employer. Has that been considered when stating that Her Majesty’s Government are not seeking his surrender?

We know from other cases where British citizens are detained abroad that the FCDO does comment—indeed, the official Twitter account referenced one such case just six days go—so the UK does get involved, but apparently not in the case of whistleblowers. That sends a chilling message to others thinking of doing what my constituent has done in blowing the whistle on his former employers, SBM Offshore—a company that paid $240 million to settle criminal charges over improper payments to officials.

What consideration has been given to Mr Taylor’s human rights? Does my hon. Friend have absolute confidence that he will receive a fair trial in Monaco? What conversations has she had with authorities in Monaco regarding the case, and can we have details further to the one she referenced? I know she will not comment on the quality of the evidence provided, but its flimsiness has caused lawyers concern. It is not satisfactory to repeat that Her Majesty’s Government do not get involved. My constituent has whistleblower status and deserves the appropriate protection.