The ex-NatWest bankers accused of defrauding their former employee in the build-up to the collapse of Enron face extradition to the US after the attorney general said there was no reason for them to stand trial in the UK.
Lord Goldsmith has declared that there is no basis for the Serious Fraud Office to reconsider its decision that the US authorities are free to extradite them, despite the accused and victim both being British-based.
David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, sometimes referred to as the NatWest three or Enron three, have claimed they are innocent of accusations they defrauded NatWest of £12 million, £6.5 million of which was allegedly pocketed by executives at the disgraced energy giant Enron in 2001.
The attorney general was responding to a letter from his shadow, Dominic Grieve, who claimed that the three men had the right to a fair trial from a UK jury.
"It must be a legitimate source of public anxiety that, where the defendants are British nationals living in England and the alleged victim is a British corporation this case is not being prosecuted here," he said.
"I would, therefore, be grateful if you would give further consideration to this matter so as to ensure that these defendants have the benefit of our own system of justice and the British public the benefit of seeing justice being done in respect of them."
The three men now face the prospect of a two-year wait in Texan prisons while the trial comes to court, but the UK prime minister, Tony Blair, has pledged to "inquire" as to whether bail assurances could be secured.