A Northampton couple the subject of an extradition attempt by the United States have delayed the process after revealing today they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Paul and Sandra Dunham last month lost their High Court fight over an alleged work expenses fraud.
They have been pursued by the US Department of Justice over a claim they embezzled more than one million US dollars (£605,000) in illegitimate expense claims.
The pair strongly deny the claims, and say the matter should never have become a criminal case.
The couple say they have considered suicide after learning, even if eventually found not guilty, they may be imprisoned separately in the US before any trial.
Until 2010, Mr Dunham was chief executive, president and 20 per cent shareholder of PACE, a US company manufacturing soldering irons for the electronics industry.
Eric Siegel, the son of PACE founder, the late William Siegel, is pursuing the pair over alleged improperly claimed expenses arising from their relocation from the UK to Maryland.
The Dunhams reject the allegations, claiming all expense payments they received were properly accounted for and approved by Mr Siegel personally, as well as the company’s finance director, and were also subject to the external auditors’ scrutiny on an annual basis.
However, an untested criminal complaint filed in Maryland has resulted, causing the couple, personal bankruptcy and mental distress, they claim.
Lawyers this afternoon lodged applications at the High Court seeking certification to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The applications seek the Supreme Court’s consideration of whether an allegation of abuse of process is capable of being a consideration when a Court is deciding whether or not a Requested Person’s right to a private and family life under the Human Rights Act would be breached by extradition, and to what extent abuse of process can be argued.
Mr Dunham said: “Our hopes rest on the Supreme Court recognising the improper way the US criminal system has been exploited to cause Sandra and me the greatest personal, emotional and financial hardship imaginable.
“This Human Rights-based application will truly test the safeguards said by British politicians to be inherent in our extradition system yet which, so far to us at least, appear non-existent.”