Former Goldman Sachs Banker Partially Wins UK Extradition Appeal, Still Faces US Trial

The case reached the High Court after a judge had earlier referred it to British ministers for a decision in 2023.

Asante Berko, a former banker for Goldman Sachs, partially won his appeal against extradition to the United States but still faces significant legal challenges.

The U.S. authorities want Berko for alleged bribery of Ghanaian officials, a case that dates back to his tenure at the banking giant.

Berko was initially charged in 2020 by a New York court with six offenses.

His legal proceedings took a significant turn last month when a judge at London’s High Court heard his appeal.

The case reached the High Court after a judge had earlier referred it to British ministers for a decision in 2023.

The core of Berko’s legal argument centered on the applicability of U.S. charges in the UK.

His defense argued that three of the six charges—specifically, those accusing him of failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts in the U.S.—were not criminal offenses under British law.

Furthermore, his lawyers maintained that since the alleged offenses occurred either in the UK or Ghana, Berko should not be extradited to the U.S. for trial.

Judge Charles Bourne delivered a mixed ruling on these points.

He agreed with Berko’s defense regarding the three charges related to the filing of foreign bank account reports, stating that extradition for these charges would place Berko at risk of “being convicted and imprisoned for conduct which would not amount to an offence in this country.”

Consequently, Berko will not face extradition on these specific charges.

However, the judge dismissed the remainder of Berko’s appeal.

Despite the argument that the conspiracy had UK and Ghanaian connections, Judge Bourne noted the international nature of the alleged conspiracy, implying that the U.S. was an appropriate venue for these charges.

Thus, Berko still faces the possibility of extradition to the United States on the remaining charges.

The decision highlights the complexities of international law and the challenges of handling cases that span multiple jurisdictions.

Berko’s partial victory brings some relief, but his legal battle concerning extradition continues, reflecting ongoing tensions between national legal standards and international criminal allegations.