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U.K. Paper Fights Secrecy In FCPA Extraditions

The Guardian wants to know why Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan were extradited to the U.S. last year to face FCPA-related charges.

The London-based newspaper is hoping to win the right to appeal against lower court rulings that kept key documents in the extradition secret, including arguments made by the U.S. DOJ.

'British prosecutors and a magistrate have refused to disclose the documents,' the Guardian said, 'which relate to the extradition to the U.S. of two Britons, Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan, to face bribery charges. Barristers for the U.S. government submitted a set of documents justifying the extradition to District Judge Caroline Tubbs, the magistrate deciding the case. The Guardian asked for copies of these documents, but she refused to release them. That decision was upheld by the High Court last December.'

After Tesler lost his fight against extradition, the one-time middleman for KBR and its partners in the TSKJ consortium pleaded guilty to two FCPA counts. He agreed to forfeit nearly $149 million, the biggest FCPA-related forfeiture ever.

Chodan, a former KBR employee in the U.K., was also extradited to Houston and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Final sentencing for both is set for mid December.

The Guardian said 'the media's right to see documents in civil cases is fairly well established. However, no such right exists in criminal cases. The media's right to obtain access to documents in extradition hearings, and criminal trials in general, would be strengthened if the Guardian's appeal is successful.'

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