Fraudster faces extradition hearing
Fugitive multi-millionaire fraudster and Liberal Democrat donor Michael Brown is set to face an extradition hearing in Spain early next week.
Brown was arrested in the Dominican Republic in January and flown to Madrid on Saturday where he was in the process of being handed over to British officials.
He fled the UK to the Caribbean after being convicted of fraud at Southwark Crown Court in 2008 and was sentenced in his absence to seven years in jail. He was detained in the tourist town of Punta Cana over an unrelated fraud charge.
Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart said: "The City of London Police is pleased that after four years evading British justice, Mr Brown is a step closer to returning to the UK to start his prison sentence. We hope that him facing justice will bring some closure to the victims who suffered as a result of his frauds."
A spokesman for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said: "The process would be for an individual to be taken to Madrid for an extradition hearing. Once that extradition is agreed there's a 10-day period for him to be extradited to the UK. We would expect the process to start early next week."
Brown donated about £2.4 million to the Lib Dems ahead of the 2005 general election, its largest donation to date. He had been living on the Caribbean island under the name of Darren Nally, officials in the Caribbean said.
An international manhunt was launched when Brown went on the run after stealing nearly £8 million from the former chairman of Manchester United. He posed as a highly successful bond dealer and claimed connections with royalty to steal the money from Martin Edwards.
Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics show, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "First I should say I'm very pleased he's coming back to serve his sentence. This is a convicted fraudster.
"Secondly I should stress that this is something which happened as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned before I was even an MP, let alone Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
"And what I've been told is that the Electoral Commission in 2009 looked at this exhaustively, as far as the receipt of that money by the Liberal Democrats from one of his companies, and they categorically concluded that the money was received in good faith and all the controls, all the checks that should have been made were reasonably made by the Liberal Democrats at the time."