DTI in moves to extradite Levitt

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to make a move to extradite Roger Levitt, the disgraced ex life assurance tycoon, from the US. He is wanted on a warrant issued on 16 December for failing to appear in court for allegedly acting as a "shadow director" of International Boxing Corporation, a boxing promotion company, while disqualified from doing so.

The move to extradite him was announced yesterday at Marlborough Street Magistrates' Court when four officials from the company appeared on related summonses. The four are Cecil Halpin, John Wiffin, Hartley Wintney and Mark Segal.

Andrew Colman, representing the DTI, told Timothy Workman, the magistrate: "A warrant is in issue against a fifth defendant who is believed to be in the United States.

"The prosecution would like the opportunity to secure the attendance of the other defendant by whatever means possible. That may take some time."

Asking for a six-month adjournment of the case, Mr Colman added: "We are still investigating the possibility of extradition, but there are technical difficulties which may prove insuperable. One other alternative is that the American authorities may take a view about the person remaining in their country and that may involve a further development."

Lawyers representing Levitt's co-defendants opposed an adjournment. Ronald Lewis, representing three of the men, said: "It's not often that you hear the Crown, in this case the DTI, making an application that they themselves say may not have much chance of succeeding - at least, on the extradition point.

"The warrant was issued for Roger Levitt's arrest six weeks ago, and if Mr Levitt is or is not being co-operative... matters not as far as these defendants are concerned."

Mr Workman agreed to a month's adjournment, pending the outcome of DTI consultations with US law experts.