Bloomberg News

Ian Norris's Extradition Case to Be Heard by Highest U.K. Court

June 07, 2007

Ian Norris, the British businessman fighting extradition to the U.S. on price-fixing charges, will have his case heard by the U.K.'s highest court.

The former chief executive officer of Morgan Crucible Co. (MGCR) has been charged in Pennsylvania with conspiring with other executives to rig prices in the carbon parts market in the 1990s and trying to obstruct an ensuing investigation.

The House of Lords in London said in a document posted on its Web site today it will review the case. The court will look at five questions certified for appeal by the High Court in London, Norris's lawyer, Alistair Graham, said in a statement.

``We have believed from the very beginning of this case that the fundamental issues it raises needed to be heard by the U.K.'s highest court,'' Graham said in the e-mailed statement. A hearing date hasn't been scheduled.

One of the questions is whether price-fixing was a crime in Britain before the 2003 adoption of anti-cartel legislation known as the Enterprise Act. The rules governing extraditions between the U.S. and the U.K. mandate that a person can only be extradited for conduct that is a criminal offense in both countries.

The U.K. government has repeatedly claimed in the Norris case that any ``dishonest'' attempt to fix prices is covered by the long-standing English charge of conspiracy to defraud. Norris's lawyers are contesting that argument, and say that the conduct their client is accused of wasn't criminalized in Britain until the introduction of the Enterprise Act.

The British government first authorized Norris's extradition in September 2005, after a lower court ruled that it would be appropriate for the businessman to be tried in the U.S.

The former CEO, who retired from Morgan Crucible in 2002 after battling prostate cancer, denies wrongdoing and is challenging both of those decisions.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at lumley1@bloomberg.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Eamonn Sullivan at esullivan@bloomberg.net


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