Jonathan Taylor, the British whistleblower who was arrested in Croatia 10 months ago on an Interpol red notice issued by Monaco, lost an important court case this week when the Supreme Court in Zagreb ruled that the arrest warrant should stand.
The Whistleblowing International Network (WIN) immediately sent an open letter to the Minister of Justice in Croatia reminding him that it is up to him, not the court, to decide on Monaco’s request.
WIN’s letter was signed by more than 40 organisations and individuals, including Transparency International EU, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).
In it, WIN pointed out that Mr Taylor is a British national who, during the course of his employment as a lawyer for the Dutch listed oil industry firm SBM Offshore N.V., with its main office in the Principality of Monaco, uncovered one of the largest corruption and bribery scandals in the world that resulted in criminal investigations in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Netherlands, Switzerland and Brazil. His evidence contributed to the company paying fines amounting to over $800 million and, to date, the imprisonment of three individuals directly involved in the scandal, including the former CEO of SBM Offshore N.V.
“Monaco to date has failed to initiate a single criminal investigation into highly credible and well documented allegations of bribery and corruption on the part of SBM Offshore. Instead, it has targeted the one person who blew the whistle and brought public scrutiny to such widespread financial crimes,” WIN said.
The letter continues: “At no stage did the law enforcement or judicial authorities in Monaco seek his extradition from the United Kingdom, where Mr Taylor has lived since 2013, until he was apprehended in Dubrovnik, for the very reason that they knew it would not succeed. Mr Taylor has made it clear since 2017, when he first became aware that his former employer, the Dutch listed SBM Offshore N.V. had lodged a criminal complaint in Monaco three years earlier, that he would answer any questions the authorities had of him from the United Kingdom, either remotely or in person. And since his unlawful detention in Croatia, the offer to answer questions there has been repeated on the agreement that he is able to return home to the United Kingdom. For Jonathan to be returned to Monaco to face questioning in order to determine whether charges should be laid amounts to a clear act of retaliation for his having disclosed the corrupt practices of a major offshore oil firm and one of the largest private sector employers in the small principality.”
Meanwhile, Mr Taylor’s Croatian lawyer has called the Supreme Court decision to extradite as “illogical” as the judgement refers to him as a whistleblower.
Having already spent ten months in rented accommodation in Croatia waiting for a resolution, Mr Taylor will have to continue to wait in anticipation of the Croatian government’s decision.
The UK government has been less than helpful, despite Mr Taylor’s whistleblower status.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has been asked by the BBC for comment on the supreme court ruling.
Some weeks ago the FCDP said: “We are supporting a British man following his arrest in Dubrovnik and are in regular contact with him. FCDO Minister Wendy Morton has sought assurances from Croatia and Monaco that he will be treated fairly. We are in regular contact with the Croatian authorities to seek updates.”