The extradition of an Island fraudster hiding in Bahrain was delayed by years because prosecuting officials forgot to complete a simple risk assessment form, local news outlet Jersey Evening Post reports.
After fleeing the Island to hide in Bahrain more than a decade ago, Russell Stephen King (60) was this week brought to justice when he was jailed for six years. However, this could have happened in 2015.
King laundered a total of £671,000 from the now defunct Belgravia Financial Services Group, of which he was a shadow director, over a three-month period in 2008. Much of the money was then hidden in Switzerland.
The form could have been completed and submitted to the FCO within hours of receipt"
It emerged in court this week that by January 2015, prosecutors were in a position to extradite King from Bahrain. A risk assessment form was received from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office but lay uncompleted in the Law Officers' Department office at Morier House for ten months.
Crown Advocate Matthew Jowitt said in court: "The form could have been completed ... and submitted to the FCO within hours of receipt."
However, it took a further 13 months for the FCO to carry out its risk assessment. Advocate Jowitt acknowledged in court that although the delay was not the fault of the Law Officers' Department "it is right to say the prosecuting authority did not chase the FCO for a prompter assessment".
By the time the FCO had completed its risk assessment it was January 2017 and then an official extradition request, which was translated into Arabic, was not sent to Bahrain officials until June 2018.
King pleaded guilty to five counts of fraudulently converting a total of £740,286 of money belonging to others. He did not react as the sentence was delivered.