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THE AGENDA Liquid Lunch


Human rights lawyer Karen Todner tells Anna Solomon about her fight to overturn the conviction of former derivatives trader Tom Hayes


facing extradition. ‘I like representing the underdog and having a fight,’ she says. From 2002, Todner successfully represented Gary McKinnon, the Scottish systems administrator accused of hacking into 97 US military and Nasa computers using the name ‘Solo’. They came together because of Todner’s experience with computer law (she had previously represented police officers accused of accessing the Police National Computer), however in 2005 McKinnon was told that he faced extradition to America. ‘I knew nothing about extradition at that point,’ says Todner. ‘But he said, “I want to stay with you,” and I said, “I’ll learn.” So I went and bought a book and I read about extradition, and since then that’s what my career has largely been about.’


It is important to


have a bail package ready to go upon


arrest – or even better to arrange voluntary surrender to avoid an unwelcome knock at the door


I HAVE A LUNCH with Karen Todner, the high-flying lawyer whose client Tom Hayes has just been released from prison after serving five-and-a-half years of his 11-year sentence. The former UBS and Citigroup trader has been all over the financial and business press, but the matter is not finished – Todner believes she can retroactively get his conviction overturned. Before we can discuss that, though,


Todner must usher her three dogs (Lulu, Dylan and Napoleon) out of the living room of her cosy Oxfordshire home. Since we are speaking over Zoom in the time of lockdown, lunch is not served at a sleek


restaurant but by her husband, Ian, who brings in the gluten-free fettuccine with black truffle Alfredo from Pasta Evangelists arranged by Spear’s. Sixty-odd miles away, I tuck into wild boar ragu. Todner qualified as a solicitor in the late Eighties, setting up her own firm as soon as she was able. She ran Kaim Todner for 25 years before it was acquired by One Legal and left in 2017 to practise independently. (One Legal later attempted to sue Todner over claims of undisclosed debts, but the action has since been stayed.) As a leading human rights lawyer, she often works with clients


‘You want to make a difference,’ she continues. ‘And that’s what I enjoy doing. Feeling good about what you’ve achieved in the day is a big thing.’ As well as specialising in extradition, Todner is known for representing people on the autism spectrum. McKinnon has Asperger syndrome, which prompted other autistic clients to contact Todner for representation after the case concluded successfully – in 2012, the then home secretary, Theresa May, blocked McKinnon’s extradition to the United States. Like McKinnon, Tom Hayes has


Asperger syndrome. In 2012 he was arrested for having manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), the benchmark that tracks the interest rate banks pay to borrow cash from one another. At the peak of his Libor-related trading, a 0.01 per cent move could boost Hayes’ gains by about $750,000.


KEITH HENRY BROWN


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