Whistleblower Jonathan Taylor – who Protect has supported since 2015 – has been arrested at Dubrovnik Airport whilst in Croatia for a week’s holiday with his wife and three teenage children.
Jonathan Taylor, 51, a lawyer from Southampton was arrested on 30 July and 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”.
Mr Taylor blew the whistle in 2013 on a $275 million international network of bribes paid by Monaco-based Dutch oil platform company SBM Offshore. Mr Taylor 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.
Now, some six years later, he is subject to international retaliation. Full details of the charges are unclear but his former employer lodged a criminal complaint against him in Monaco in 2014 saying that his negotiations for damages from SBM Offshore amounted to extortion, a charge Mr Taylor denies.
From Croatia, Mr Taylor said,
“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.
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.”
Back in 2018, Protect supported a challenge to the case in Monaco against Mr Taylor on human rights (Article 6) grounds. This led to the case being adjourned but did not stop the investigations by Monaco public prosecutors.
Protect Chief Executive Liz Gardiner said,
“We have written to the UK Government asking them to make representations to prevent the extradition and prosecution going ahead, to avoid the chilling effect this would have on future whistleblowers at home and abroad.
Too often whistleblowers suffer long after the event from retaliatory action by their former employers. We want to encourage speaking up in the public interest, but these actions may make others less willing to expose serious crime and corruption”.
Mr Taylor’s lawyer, Mr Cadman, co-founder and head of chambers at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers has said he is disturbed Monaco authorities are bringing criminal prosecutions against a UK whistleblower and suggested that it is an “abuse of process”.
Mr Taylor told Protect,
“I am hugely grateful to all the organisations and individuals who have expressed their support. UK whistleblowing charity Protect’s expertise and support of my case back in 2018 was invaluable. Once again, I am grateful for their assistance, and that of the Whistleblowing International Network, in this quite frankly horrendous scenario I find myself in, years since I first blew the whistle.
“It is a bizarre and disturbing development I would not wish on anyone, but with the support of Protect and sister organisations I remain confident that the whistleblowing story in which I am embroiled will have a great ending. In time I will be seeking to lend my support and empathy to future whistleblowers.”