An investigating judge has dismissed British oil whistleblower Jonathan Taylor’s case, according to a March 16 article from BBC News. Taylor is “elated” by the news but discouraged that Monaco’s public prosecutor has launched an appeal to the decision.
Taylor worked for nine years as a lawyer in Monaco for SBM Offshore, a Dutch multinational oil company. He blew the whistle in 2012 on corruption and provided “evidence about bribes being offered to government officials in return for lucrative contracts,” a BBC article states.
“As a result of Taylor’s whistleblowing, the company ‘eventually agreed to a then-record $240m (£186m) settlement with the Dutch authorities,’” previous WNN reporting states. Taylor’s whistleblower case also had ramifications in the U.S. – in November of 2017, “the U.S. Department of Justice announced that SBM Offshore and ‘its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, SBM Offshore USA Inc. (SBM USA), have agreed to resolve criminal charges and pay a criminal penalty of $238 million in connection with schemes involving the bribery of foreign officials’ in several countries. SBM USA also pleaded guilty ‘in connection with the resolution.’”
In July of 2020, Taylor went on a holiday with his family in Dubrovnik, Croatia. While there, he was arrested “on an Interpol red licence,” and according to BBC reporting, the “warrant was withdrawn but Croatian courts would not allow him to leave amid ongoing extradition proceedings.” Taylor was forced to stay in Croatia, apart from his family, and was marooned in the country for about a year. He had to remain in Croatia because “authorities in Monaco sought to extradite him for questioning about claims he demanded money to keep quiet,” according to the BBC article. He was finally cleared to begin the process of returning home to the UK on July 8.
According to the March 16 BBC article, investigating judge Ludovic Leclerc dismissed the case. In his ruling, Leclerc said he found “no grounds for action” against Taylor. Taylor told the BBC that he is “elated” by the news, but commented on the fact that “Monaco’s public prosecutor has launched an appeal” against the ruling.
“This living, merciless nightmare that has already cost me so very much, continues unabated,” Taylor said. “Monaco’s unrelenting persecution of me continues,” he remarked. “That I have lost a year of my life, my career lies in ruins, my personal life has suffered immeasurable permanent damage… all in connection with a complaint that my old employer has withdrawn, apparently matters not.”
Taylor “has not been charged with any offence” and “has always denied the claims.”
Taylor’s lawyer William Bourdon “told the BBC the judge’s order ‘explicitly clears my client of all suspicion.’” He commented, “It is very regrettable that the public prosecutor’s office of Monaco appealed this decision, it is incomprehensible. We remain, of course, confident for the continuation of the procedure.”