Press Release: Statement on Arrest of UK Oil Industry Whistleblower Jonathan Taylor in Croatia
Jonathan Taylor (51) from Southampton was arrested at Dubrovnik Airport on Thursday 30th
July. He was travelling to Croatia for a week’s holiday with his wife and three teenage children. He was informed he was the subject of an Interpol red notice at the request of the public prosecutor in Monaco on charges of “bribery and corruption”.
In 2014, Mr Taylor blew the whistle on a $275 million international network of bribes paid by Monaco-based Dutch oil platform company SBM Offshore. He has subsequently provided evidence to the UK Serious Fraud Office, investigators in Brazil and the Netherlands as well as the FBI and the Department of Justice in the United States. This has resulted in fines to SBM Offshore of over $800 million. However, in contrast to other countries, the authorities in Monaco have chosen to pursue the whistleblower rather than those responsible for the bribes.
The specific allegations against Mr Taylor are not yet clear. Previously, the Monaco authorities claimed his negotiations for damages from SBM Offshore amounted to extortion. He denies all charges against him.
On release from custody on 4th
August, Mr Taylor said: “It is a huge relief being released from custody. I have been treated well by the judge and the prison guards. Yet still, I have been arrested and held in jail at the request of the Monaco authorities which has resulted in me being treated like a common criminal. I have been locked in a cell with three other prisoners for 22 hours a day - all because I blew the whistle on bribery and corruption on an enormous scale within the oil and gas industry.
I have full confidence in the Croatian authorities to do the right thing and refuse Monaco’s request for extradition as an abuse of process.
I have lived with these accusations for six years. I was accused of blackmail in 2014, a charge I vehemently oppose. I have brought proceedings against the company that now seek to have me arbitrarily prosecuted for acting in the public interest.
I have successfully fought SBM Offshore in the civil courts and have assisted law enforcement in the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Brazil and Switzerland. My evidence has been instrumental in SBM Offshore receiving fines of several hundred million dollars and the people responsible receiving substantial prison sentences for bribery and corruption.
It is disturbing that the Monaco authorities continue to seek to target me as a whistleblower despite having failed to investigate the enormous bribery scandal which took place in Monaco, where SBM Offshore was headquartered at the time of the corruption.
The targeting of a whistleblower in such circumstances has wider implications far greater than my fate. It will negatively impact on the necessary protection of whistleblowers and investigative journalists worldwide. For that we should all be very concerned.”
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