top of page
  • Detained in Dubai

Extradition of British crypto expert to USA would challenge UK sovereignty

Britain urged to defend its sovereignty and protect Brit from extradition under foreign laws that would violate UN principles and international law.

A British crypto expert faces extradition from Saudi to the US but lawyers and academics claim this would be a violation of international law as it impinges on the sovereignty of Britain.

The US has increasingly sought to apply its own laws universally with increasing vigour. Just a short while ago, it was concerning when countries like Australia wanted to charge citizens with conduct in another country. The implications at the time were extremely concerning. Not only were people suddenly subject to the laws of the country they were visiting, but they were also subject to their own country’s laws. Although there was significant concern about the universal application of a country’s laws, the public was subdued with promises that it would just get “the real baddies, mostly child abusers”.

Fast forward a couple of decades and we are seeing the very “slippery slope” analysts foresaw in the early days. Once the precedent for extraterritorial laws was accepted and experimented with, it didn’t take long for those powers and laws to be expanded. The US has been the worst offender.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to indict in absentia British national Christopher Emms alleging that he violated US sanctions against North Korea when he visited the country to attend a cryptocurrency conference that another US citizen attended. The 30 year old crypto expert, an advisor to British regulators and a frequent speaker, violated no British laws nor international laws when he attended the conference, but the DOJ listed Emms on Interpol’s Red Notice database during his visit to Saudi and has applied for his extradition under the IEEPA, a statute that specifies it only applies to “US persons”.