Jailed Tesler could serve his sentence in the UK

By Jessica Elgot, March 8, 2012
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Relatives of British solicitor Jeffrey Tesler, who was sentenced to almost two years in a US prison for bribing Nigerian officials for £4bn construction contracts, will lobby the Ministry of Justice to bring him home to serve his sentence here.

A close relation, who did not wish to be named, said they were investigating options for the Hendon solicitor, who has dual British-Israeli citizenship, to be repatriated.

He must forfeit £90m made from the deal, after he helped bribe Nigerian representatives to get contracts for natural gas facilities on behalf of Texan company Kellogg, Brown and Root. The money was found in 12 Swiss banks accounts and four in Israel.

Mr Tesler was extradited to Houston in March 2011, having first been arrested in 2009. He fought against extradition, arguing that the crimes did not take place in the UK or in the US. But in January this year Lord Justice Pill agreed to his extradition, saying the effects of the conspiracy "would have been felt in the US."

Last week, Mr Tesler, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

A family member told the JC: "The United States Treasury will receive the money which he had to pay back, so the British government is probably of the opinion that he should stay in the US prison, at their expense, rather than pay £700 a week to keep him in a British prison." The relative said the family did not know how long the process to get Mr Tesler back in the UK would take.

    Last updated: 1:32pm, March 8 2012