UK 'will not intervene' in case of oil whistleblower trapped in Croatia

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image captionJonathan Taylor was arrested in Dubrovnik when he arrived there for a family holiday

The UK Government does not plan to intervene in the case of a British oil firm whistleblower who is trapped in Croatia, the Foreign Office has said.

Lawyer Jonathan Taylor provided evidence against his former employer, Dutch firm SBM Offshore, in 2012.

In July he was arrested in Croatia on an Interpol red licence issued by Monaco on bribery and corruption charges.

MPs argued the lack of UK involvement sent a "chilling message".

Mr Taylor, from Hampshire, is not facing any charges in the UK and is awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings which will determine whether his extradition to Monaco will be granted, the Commons heard on Monday.

Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton told MPs there was "no evidence" his arrest was linked to whistleblowing on the corruption issue at SBM Offshore.

She said if further evidence was provided on the matter the government would look at it again.

image copyrightEPA
image captionMonaco hosts an SBM Offshore regional centre

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy described Ms Morton's response as "disappointing" and asked if she agreed the charges brought against Mr Taylor "bear all the hallmarks of a retaliatory act by the government of Monaco".

Conservative former minister Caroline Nokes, for Romsey and Southampton North, told the Commons her constituent Mr Taylor was trying to prevent what he described as a "politically-motivated extradition to Monaco" and deserved protection given his whistleblower status.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Nokes said: "It is setting a really chilling example to future whistleblowers that the government will not step forward.

"I'm very worried for his well-being and it would be far more satisfactory for him to come back to the UK."

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Ms Morton told MPs she did not accept the UK was "abdicating responsibility" on the matter.

"We understand that the CPS has advised that they have no outstanding case against Mr Taylor and therefore the UK has notified the Croatian authorities that we are not seeking to extradite him," she said.

The government had also approached the Monegasque Prosecutors' Office to request the details of the charges against Mr Taylor, who was being provided with consular support, said Ms Morton.

Following Mr Taylor's evidence SBM Offshore agreed to a $240m (£186m) settlement with the Dutch authorities. It paid a similar sum to settle a case in the US.

SBM Offshore previously stated it had not influenced the extradition request.

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