Ex-ministers urge Foreign Office to protect British whistleblower

Jonathan Taylor is trapped in Croatia after exposing multi-million pound bribes by a Monaco oil firm

Caroline Nokes, the former Home Office minister, will Monday seek an urgent debate in Parliament to demand the Foreign Office take immediate action to protect a British whistleblower trapped in Croatia by a “politically motivated” and “vengeful” extradition request.

The move is being backed by former Cabinet ministers David Davis and Andrew Mitchell and former Labour minister Margaret Hodge who want the Foreign Secretary to intervene on behalf of Jonathan Taylor, a whistleblower who exposed multi-million pound bribes by a Monaco-based oil firm.

He was arrested in Croatia three months ago when he arrived for a family holiday after Monaco sought his arrest and extradition for what his lawyers claim are trumped-up allegations of corruption in revenge for his exposing bribery that led to the firm, SBM, paying £350m to settle the claims.

Ms Nokes, his constituency MP, said she was seeking an urgent question to ask the Foreign Office what it was doing to help a whistleblower whom the Serious Fraud Office wants to speak to about new allegations of six-figure bribes that Mr Taylor has further uncovered.

“It is all extremely murky,” said Ms Nokes. “The concern we all have is that Monaco is looking for a scapegoat and they have alighted on Jonathan Taylor. He was a whistleblower, not someone involved in the significant issues that SBM has been accused of.”

Abby and Will Taylor, the teenage children of detained whistleblower Jonathan Taylor have written a letter appealing for mercy to Prince Albert of Monaco after the arrest of their father Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley

Mr Davis said: “The FCO should take incredibly seriously its role in bringing him back to England. It doesn’t need to extradite him, it just needs to request his return because he is a UK citizen and a whistleblower who has been responsible for exposing criminal activity on an international scale.

“They should not under any circumstances allow him to be punished for that. They should have words with Monaco. Everyone knows it’s a tax haven, but not historically a centre of crime. It has been enabling the detention of a UK citizen with the aim of punishing him for doing the right thing.”

David Davis, a former Minister, has called on the Government to help Jonathan Taylor Credit: The Telegraph/John Robertson

Mr Mitchell said: “It is important the FCO intervenes now as indeed the Government of Croatia has invited them to do, so that the British authorities can use the evidence that Mr Taylor has to tackle corruption in an open and transparent way.

“Getting him back to the UK not only respects his civil liberty and rights but it will also assist in the campaign which the Government strongly supports to crackdown on money laundering and financial corruption.”

Ms Hodge said: “I struggle to understand the FCO’s refusal to use its authority and influence to act on behalf of a British citizen who has bravely blown the whistle and uncovered financial crime. The first duty of the FCO is to protect our citizens. I can’t understand why they are so belligerently refusing to do so.”

The FCO has consistently maintained it cannot intervene in the legal processes of Croatia and Monaco. SBM did not admit guilt in any settlements and has maintained it has dropped any legal action against Mr Taylor.

An FCO spokesman said: “We are supporting a British man following his arrest in Dubrovnik and are in regular contact with him. While we cannot interfere in the legal processes of another country, our staff are in contact with the Croatian authorities about his case to seek updates.”