back to article Someone's getting a free trip to the US – well, not quite free. Brit bloke extradited to face $2m+ cyber-scam charges

A British citizen has been extradited to the US to face charges he oversaw a series of business email compromise attacks to steal over $2m from unwary accounts departments and individuals. Habeeb Audu was indicted [PDF] in America on counts of bank and wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and identity theft. The 53-year- …

  1. The Bloke next door

    It's only money...

    If he had killed someone by driving on the wrong side of the road and then fled the country, being extradited is fair.

    But having committed the cardinal sin of stealing money from an American company, the U.K. quietly fulfils its subservient role to the US.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: It's only money...

      Extradition is a normal part of the legal process. If the perpetrator is not in the same country that the victims are, extradition is a way to get the perpetrator to face the charges in the country where the crime happened. The U.K. gets to deny the request if they want to, but they had no reason to do so in this case. If an American group defrauded British banks, the same type of request would have occurred in the other direction. It has nothing to do with subservience or international diplomacy, it's a bog standard part of international criminal law.

      1. chuBb. Bronze badge

        Re: It's only money...

        Just more "special" as in one-sided relationship in action.

        Personally if we were serious about getting that woman over back over here and not allowing her to hide behind diplomatic immunity, bojo and cronies (actually they lack the balls sturgeon should do this) should threaten trump with compulsary purchase of his golf courses for £1 and announce plans to turn them into the "Barrack Obama Multicultural and Asylum Centre", would give it 10 mins before shes flying eastward over the atlantic....

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: It's only money...

          Taking DTs personal* property? Something would definitely be "flying eastward over the Atlantic"

          *for every purpose except tax & liabilities, that's what the holding company is for.

          1. chuBb. Bronze badge

            Re: It's only money...

            I would love to see the toddler nativity version of job's reality distortion field, trying to explain how and why its any different to doing the same on the mexico border, other than in this case it would be to prevent more destruction of sites of scientific interest and actually worth doing...

            That and i cant shake the mental image of sturgeon trophy hunting don jr with a well aimed bottle of buckfast and nutting donny dickhead sr in the traditional Glasgow greeting ;)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's only money...

              You do know that the migrant policy with children being separated from adults at the Mexico border was started under Obama ? Also the reason they are separated is that a huge chunk of those kids aren't travelling with relatives and they are taken from them until this is confirmed and then moved back.

              It's a sensible approach unless of course you're a fan of sex trafficking?

              But Orange Man Bad.. even though he continued the policy that Obama started..

              1. FriendInMiami

                Re: It's only money...

                Re the child separation practices - under Pres. Obama, the children went immediately into healthy, safe well-staffed centers where processing to release them into the US was accomplished as swiftly as possible. Under Pres.* Trump, the children have in many cases literally been in cage-type enclosures, often cramped together, with intent to deny them entry into the US. Others were held in massive detention centers without visitors or local oversight of the staffing (no real screening to weed out people who might actually be unsuitable) - like the one near me in Miami, FL. I went to many protests outside that facility, before they closed in it the face of an increasing hurricane season for which they had no plan to cope with over a thousand children who might need to be evacuated. Under Pres. Obama, the non-governmental agencies who worked with the children were fully supported. Under Pres. Trump, information is denied to these agencies about the children. Under Pres. Obama, every effort was made to identify and keep in touch with children's families. Under Pres.* Trump, no effort has been made to keep any kind of accurate list. Losing children has literally been a goal, it appears. So the cruelty and capriciousness, illegal and immoral actions of Donald Trump contrasts mightily with that of Barack Obama.

              2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
                Childcatcher

                Re: It's only money...

                You do know that the migrant policy with children being separated from adults at the Mexico border was started under Obama ?

                Nope. You do know that this is an intentionally misleading statement? While there were some separations under previous administrations (plural, as in prior to Obama), there was no policy intended to separate children from parents as a form of retaliation.

                Also the reason they are separated is that a huge chunk of those kids aren't travelling with relatives and they are taken from them until this is confirmed and then moved back.

                This is clearly not the reason for nor the intent of the policy. In order to return children to parents under the circumstances, the administration would have had to keep track of all of the individuals involved, even and especially if released from care and custody. If there was a concern for the children, they would be put in the care of people actually qualified to care for them.

                Icon, because both name and irony.

                REF:

                https://www.factcheck.org/2018/06/did-the-obama-administration-separate-families/

                https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/us/immigration-refugee-child-missing-hhs-obama-photo-trnd/index.html

                https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/16/us/migrant-children-hotels-coronavirus.html

          2. Roland6 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: It's only money...

            >Taking DTs personal* property?

            Apply the DT (China) logic:

            DT's Golf course is controlled by the US government because it is owned by the President of the US. Last time I looked the President is a member of the US government and a US citizen, therefore the taking of the property is fully justified. :)

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: It's only money...

          should threaten trump with compulsary purchase of his golf courses for £1

          The phrase "two wrongs don't make a right" comes to mind. Certainly, she should be extradited, but threatening to confiscate unrelated property in an attempt to force an extra-judicial action is the sort of blackmail one might expect from China or Russia. Not the UK.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: It's only money...

            The sort of blackmail one might expect from China or Russia. Not the UK.

            What about a Trade embargo on foreign owned golf courses.

            Seems the sort of blackmail the current US administration has become notorious for.

            Golf, a threat to national security? Why not.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: It's only money...

              >What about a Trade embargo on foreign owned golf courses.

              Seems the sort of blackmail the current US administration has become notorious for.

              UK government should recommend sale to Sports Direct (I think their owner may have donated to the Conservative party)...

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: It's only money...

              "What about a Trade embargo on foreign owned golf courses."

              or tariffs setup to target the VW T2 microbus, in retaliation for banning chlorinated chicken due to repeated food poisoning instances

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's only money...

            Any other countries you want to add to that list? I can wait. Tik tok tik tok...

        3. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: It's only money...

          "Personally if we were serious about getting that woman over back over here and not allowing her to hide behind diplomatic immunity, bojo and cronies (actually they lack the balls sturgeon should do this) should threaten trump with compulsary purchase of his golf courses for £1 and announce plans to turn them into the "Barrack Obama Multicultural and Asylum Centre", would give it 10 mins before shes flying eastward over the atlantic...."

          Of course this would screw up diplomatic relations and the diplomatic immunity that we enjoy with the US. If we're seen to be going back on our obligations with the US I cant imagine that it would be looked on favourably by other nations either.

          For what? It was a road accident, there's no question that she intended to cause harm - Even is she is shown to be negligent, speeding and on the wrong side of the road - the most she would get would be a driving ban and maybe a few months custodial. Justice would be done but the cost doesn't seem worth it.

          Realistically if this had been a hit and run and we didn't know who the driver had been would we still be arguing about it? I'd put money on it being forgotten in less than a month if the media hadn't used the "US diplomat fleeing the country" headline as click bait.

          There's a valid argument that we need to be looking at who we give immunity to, and maybe even the rules about what events immunity applies to. That's a discussion that needs to be had - but even if we change the rules now we couldn't retrospectively apply those new rules to this case.

          1. Kevin Fairhurst

            Re: It's only money...

            It was a *fatal* road accident and after being told not to leave the country, she claims diplomatic immunity and jumps on a plane to escape the U.K. justice system. I’m sure causing death by dangerous driving is *more* than just a driving ban these days, especially if she was found to be additionally negligent (driving in wrong side of road while using a mobile phone?)

            1. CrackedNoggin

              Re: It's only money...

              More than a driving ban? I truly doubt it:

              https://road.cc/content/news/92738-community-service-driver-who-killed-cyclist-while-eating-sandwich

              https://road.cc/content/news/142213-driver-blinded-sun-found-not-guilty-cyclist-death

              Although I suppose the "motor" before "cyclist" does add a bit of respectability.

            2. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: It's only money...

              "I’m sure causing death by dangerous driving is *more* than just a driving ban these days, especially if she was found to be additionally negligent (driving in wrong side of road while using a mobile phone?)"

              You'd have to prove that it was dangerous driving first, you'd then have to prove she was on the phone.

              That said - it could probably be done. The issue is she does have diplomatic immunity. Like I said, we probably need to look into who we grant this to and for what reasons going forward but the issue remains that when the accident happened she had diplomatic immunity and couldnt have been prosecuted without causing some ripples which ultimately would affect our diplomats in other countries.

          2. TeraTelnet

            Re: It's only money...

            They did indeed look at the immunity policy and amended it to remove immunity from family members.

            Not retrospective though.

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: It's only money...

              "They did indeed look at the immunity policy and amended it to remove immunity from family members.

              Not retrospective though."

              Ahh, there we go then, a positive outcome, this is the best we could have got from the situation. Even if we could retrospectively apply a law (Which is a terrible idea) in this situation we wouldn't be able to.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's only money...

          Ah yes Orange Man Bad again. Let's conveniently forget that the agreement with the US was in place years before he took power and we could be renegotiating it as we speak if we'd pushed for it, but we haven't.

          But Orange Man Bad.

        5. Efer Brick

          Re: It's only money...

          Kick trump in the BOMACS!!!!!

        6. Keven E

          Re: It's only who?

          ... that woman ...

          Pardon my ignorance... Irene Adler?

        7. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: It's only money...

          "if we were serious about getting that woman over back over here and not allowing her to hide behind diplomatic immunity"

          There's a simple reason she was hiding behind diplomatic immunity - who she works for.

          The letters NSA should be your clue.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: It's only money...

        Which sounds very reasonable until you look into the number of times the US has refused to extradite its citizens to the UK (including IRA terrorist suspects) compared with the number of times the UK has refused to extradite a UK citizen. It is also not always clear-cut as to which country an Internet based crime was committed. (And note: the criteria is where the *crime* was committed, not where the *victim* lives.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's only money...

          until you look into the number of times the US has refused to extradite its citizens to the UK

          Yes, let's look at the numbers, according to Channel 4 a few years back:

          "Between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2011, the US made 134 requests for extradition to the UK authorities and 75 people were successfully sent to America for trial.

          The UK made 57 extradition requests to the US and 40 people were successfully extradited.

          To the best of our knowledge, British courts have refused to extradite seven people since 2004 but the Americans have never turned down a request from Britain."

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: It's only money...

          The criteria is indeed where the crime was committed, and the law has become rather clear on this. By "law", I mean most countries' laws, including even the dodgy countries. They usually hold that the computers or victims involved, you know, the ones where the negative event happened, are the place that matters. However, the location of the criminal can also be important. The result is that either country can charge the person, and in fact both countries can choose to charge the person. This isn't unique to cybercrime either. Before we had computers, we still had international crime. For example, someone could call across borders to assist a crime. What happened? The country in which the crime happened charged the caller with assisting it, and they requested extradition. They usually got it, too, because the crime was committed in their country while the criminal was in another one, no different from someone firing a weapon across a border.

        3. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: It's only money...

          Where the *crime* was committed should be entirely irrelevant.

          If the act was a crime in the UK then prosecute him in the UK.

          If the act was not a crime in the UK then he did not break the law and should not be extradited.

          I held that stance regarding Gary McKinnon and I extend it to include this guy, albeit it's a bit late for that.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: It's only money...

            That is certainly an option and when something isn't a crime the country holding the person usually refuses to extradite. The first part, is just not what anyone does. If you murder someone in country A and leave for country B, you should expect to be sent back to country A to face your trial. Same thing if you murder someone in country A by firing at them from country B or if you use electronics to commit your crime. The crime occurred in country A and country A feels it has the right to charge you. Centuries of legal thought, treaties, constitutions, and organizations agree with them.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: It's only money...

              But this guy was in country B. He hadn't set foot in country A.

              So his actions took place in country B and either he broke the law there, or he didn't. So prosecute him there, or don't - but if you're not prosecuting him because he didn't break the law, then you shouldn't be extraditing him either.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: It's only money...

                You aren't getting it. No matter how it happens, if the crime occurs in country A, country A thinks it has the right to try him. And they do, according to all of international law. The money he stole was in country A. Now, it's not. The theft occurred in country A. Back to my previous example because it's more obvious. If I'm in country B, and it borders country A, and I fire a gun into country A to kill someone, but I haven't left country B, the murder occurred in country A. I can be tried in country A. If I ever go to country A, they have the right to charge me. They will ask country B to have me sent over and country B will likely not care that I was standing on their soil when I committed the crime.

                1. Cederic Silver badge

                  Re: It's only money...

                  I am getting it. If international law is as you say, then it's wrong. Because if you commit a crime while you are in country A then you should be prosecuted in country A. If you do not commit a crime while you're in country A then you should not be prosecuted anywhere, because you did not commit a crime in the jurisdiction you were in.

                  Any other interpretation - any other interpretation at all - means that China can extradite you for slagging off their President, that Thailand can extradite you for suggesting their King isn't perfect, the EU can extradite you for refusing to give them fishing rights.

                  That someone's actions may have an impact in another jurisdiction is not a good enough reason to allow country B's laws to apply to people in country A.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: It's only money...

      So there is one case where the USA most likely are doing the wrong thing. Yes, our government should grow a back bone and do something about it. But tearing up any extradition treaty over this is stupid.

    3. tomppa_28

      Re: It's only money...

      Yeah... Now that's an argument that is made much too often and much too easily. What about the people who lost the money? What about the businesses they had going? Especially in this case where the scumbags went after small businesses ? Stolen money can mean shattered dreams. And in some cases even shattered lives.

      Personally, I root for the Feds every time they go after cybercrime.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I will root for anyone who goes after cybercrime. Frankly, as far as the law is concerned the Internet is the Wild West, anything goes.

        And that goes for multinational behemoths as well, who impose their views in the structures that are supposed to manage how we access and use the Internet.

        I really would like a proper legal structure imposed everywhere that protects privacy and enforces fairness, but that is a pipe dream.

        However, making the USA respect international treaties and extradition requests is not a pipe dream. It's just unfeasible at this point in time.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Correct on all points! I have but only one upvote to give!

          We need a new philosophy: Don't be a dick! yeah, that should do it!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crime doesn't pay?

    $2m total, over 6 years, shared by 5 perps. That's about $67,000 per year each - they probably had enough clue to earn this amount honestly if they'd wanted to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crime doesn't pay?

      That's honestly the way with most criminals though, I was once mates with a drug dealer in college. He was basically available 24/7 and had to jump when shouted on. Never got a day off from it.

      Thing is if he'd worked a normal shift in a store he'd have come home with marginally less money for far fewer hours, less stress and no threat to life or imprisonment. He use to flash the cash in public, but most of it had to be handed over to his boss or he'd get his knees broken.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Crime doesn't pay?

      Read "Freakonomics", and the chapter "Why drug dealers live with their moms". They checked out a reasonable large gang of drug dealers. The one at the top made good money. The next three made less than a youngster in an office job. The rest were dead poor. What's worse, their life expectancy was lower than that of convicts on death row in Texas (within one year, one quarter of them died. Life expectancy on death row in Texas is five years).

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Crime doesn't pay?

      I investigated crime proceeds and hours and was shocked by the results.

      Much more money to be made by working than thieving.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Crime doesn't pay?

        "Much more money to be made by working than thieving."

        Criminals aren't usually in it because of their intelligence - and the "big payoff" triggers the gambler mentality that drives many of them

        1. quxinot Silver badge

          Re: Crime doesn't pay?

          Just depends on the thieving.

          Wear a suit to work. Be a politician. Be a banker. Handle or control large amounts of other people's money. Somehow this is vastly more respectable and certainly seems to fill one's own pockets.

    4. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Crime doesn't pay?

      Maybe criminals can't get normal jobs --- in most civilised countries --- because they have criminal records.

    5. DS999

      Re: Crime doesn't pay?

      That assumes this was the only crime they committed. Maybe they did nine more they weren't caught for, and made $670,000 per year.

  3. Andy Non Silver badge
    Coat

    I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

    He's got a rich uncle who is a Nigerian prince, he'll pay the bail via Western Union.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

      I don't know about your understanding of money transfers, but paying bail via Western Union will be accepted without any problems. Western Union will absolutely 100% safely get money from Person A to Person B. The only problem is when Person B is a crook, there is no way for Person A to get their money back. So if "a rich uncle who is a Nigerian prince" pays bail via Western Union, that money is indeed paid.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

        Whooosh. What's that noise? Oh it's the sound of the joke going right over your head.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

      All he has to do is donate to the Orange Idiots campaign and he'll be released and pardoned.

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

      Alas, this money is stuck with US customs requiring the assistance of a good, christian soul who would help transfer this money over, US$15,000,000 and for helping you can get 5% of this money.

      Please help our christian brother in distress in this time of need

      god bless you

      Mark Wonga 419

  4. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    Really ?

    'For example, one alleged favorite trick of the group was to phone up a bank using a spoofed number and voice-altering software in order impersonate a customer. Once they had convinced the bank of their identity,'

    I'm I'm quite sure my bank wouldn't let me change my address over the phone without the security code provided previously to my address, password (parts of) and 3 questions relating to recent purchases sometimes even a text code. It used to require attending the bank in person / card auth and maybe photo ID.

    It sounds like some banks need to check and enforce their procedures !

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Really ?

      Banks make a lot of noise but are often the weakest link themselves.

      I once has a new business banking account plundered. The only transcation that I made was to pay in the opening balance, the cheque book, bank card and linked credit/debit card were delivered and filed away in the folder than the bank provided. None of these ever used, but still somehow somebody knew all the details of the account and emptied it. Most definitely an inside job and very crap procedures/security checks.

      Another occasion an ex-girlfriend had her bank account emptied the day after pay day. By her brother. Somehow he had walked into the branch and convinced them that he was allowed to do this. That made for a tight month for me while I paid for her entire month as well as mine, while she didn't want to bring this up with her parents or involve the police and the bank? They just said it was all OK and nothing to do with them... She changed bank.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Really ?

        " Most definitely an inside job and very crap procedures/security checks."

        Gangs are proving quite diligent about putting people into banks and other organisations. There's been a problem in the UK with organised criminals putting people into PCSO positions (they get virtually zero security vetting vs actual police or civilian staff)

  5. Rol Silver badge

    Shame!

    I suppose if he is found guilty he will have to return his Queen's Award for Enterprise.

    Can't have our majesty being associated with thieves who get themselves caught.

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