updated 7/10/2006 9:13:54 AM ET 2006-07-10T13:13:54

Three British bankers will be extradited Thursday to face Enron-related fraud charges in the United States, their lawyer said Monday.

Mark Spragg, who represents the trio, said they were scheduled to depart Thursday morning.

On the same day, a British government minister plans to fly to the United States to urge the Senate to ratify the treaty under which the bankers are being extradited. “I want to have the opportunity to explain face to face our frustration at the Senate’s delay,” Home Office Minister Baroness Patricia Scotland wrote in Monday’s Financial Times.

David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby are at the center of campaign by Britain’s business community and opposition lawmakers to highlight what they say is the misuse of a treaty — not yet ratified by the United States — that was purportedly drawn up to bring terrorists to justice.

They are called the NatWest Three because they are all former executives at Greenwich NatWest, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. They are the first major test case of the use of the treaty to cover white-collar crime. Several other cases are pending.

The bankers were charged in the United States in 2002 with bilking National Westminster Bank of 4 million pounds ($7.3 million). They each face seven counts of wire fraud.

They allegedly advised NatWest in 2000 to sell part of an Enron Corp. business for less than the stake was worth, in a scheme allegedly devised with Andrew Fastow, former finance chief of the collapsed Houston energy trader, and his colleague, managing director Michael Kopper.

The three men then left NatWest, bought into the Enron business themselves and sold it off for a much higher figure, each pocketing about $2.6 million in the process, according to prosecutors.

The three men, all British citizens, deny any criminal conduct and have always insisted that if there is a case against them it should be tried in Britain because that is where the alleged offenses took place. They lost a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and must leave Britain for Enron’s home state of Texas by midnight on July 17.


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