Scots pensioner James Craig wins US extradition fight over ‘£1.1m share fraud’ case

A Scots pensioner who was set to be tried in America on charges of fraud has succeeded in quashing a bid to extradite him – and the case being called again.

James Craig, from Stranraer, has spent years fighting the USA’s efforts to put him on a plane to the States.

American prosecutors say he is suspected of using Twitter to manipulate the prices of NASDAQ-listed companies in 2013.

Craig, of Dunragit, in Dumfries and Galloway, had been accused of starting rumors on the social network about firms associated with the American stock exchange and causing prices to fall by more than £1.1 million.

James Craig had been accused of using Twitter to manipulate share prices

Investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission claim that he posed as legitimate securities firms to post the rumors – making his claims look legitimate.

When share prices fell – so sharply in one case that trading was suspended – Craig bought in before selling them on for a profit after the panic he allegedly created was over.

But following a number of legal rulings in his favour, Craig has been discharged by Lady Dorrian following a hearing at the High Court of Justice Appeal Court on March 31.

In a written ruling, Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk, said that quashing the extradition order and bringing the proceedings to an end was “simpler, neater…and is to be preferred” to the Crown’s motion for a new extradition hearing.

She concluded: “We will therefore allow the appeal, order the appellant’s discharge, and quash the order for his extradition.”

A discharge is a rare court decision that sees a court recognize that a crime has been committed but takes no further action against an accused. It remains as a conviction on their record.

Craig had been due to travel to the States to face trial after Scottish ministers signed an extradition agreement in September 2019.

But in February this year, the UK Supreme Court allowed an appeal against the move after lawyers persuaded a panel of five judges that his human rights had been breached because a legal measure that could help him had not been rolled out in Scotland.

How the Record originally covered the story
How the Record originally covered the story

Craig’s lawyers argued that “forum bar provisions” – which allow suspects to be tried in the UK if the majority of a crime is said to have been committed here – should have been enacted in Scotland as well as the rest of the country.

UK ministers rolled out the rules across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in October 2013 – but did not introduce the rule in Scotland for fear of treading on the toes of Scots judges.

The forum bar was eventually introduced to Scotland in September 2021.

The Record has contacted the US Securities and Exchange Commission for comment. Craig could not be reached.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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