Former banker turned reform campaigner Kweku Adoboli has been transported from Scotland to an immigration detention centre that serves Heathrow ahead of his possible deportation next week.
The 38-year-old who has lived in the UK for 26 years, spent four years in jail for fraud while working for Swiss bank UBS. He has worked to reform the banking system since his release in 2015. Under strict immigration laws, foreign nationals who serve more than four years behind bars face automatic deportation unless there are compelling reasons for them to stay.
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Speaking to the Evening News from Oxford Services on the M40, Mr Adoboli said: “It’s like being in a film. It’s a bit of an out of body experience.”
His lawyer, Jaqueline McKenzie, who along with his girlfriend, friends and MPs Hannah Bardell and Keith Vaz travelled to be with him last night, understands that a deportation charter flight to Ghana has been booked for next Tuesday and he is earmarked to be on board.
Four security officers accompanied Mr Adoboli from Dungavel detention centre to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre near London, taking turns to drive the mini-van. He said: “It all feels surreal. I’m massively stressed.”
He sounded flat but said he was enjoying the easy camaraderie the five men have found on the nine-hour drive. The security team charged with his transportation are “really good guys”. He said: “It just shows you that it’s the relationships you build and it’s the people that make our place in society such a powerful thing.
“I’m sitting here thinking ‘they’re trying to deport me’ but at the same time I’m talking to people who remind me of my place in society.”
Mr Adoboli thinks the silence of Home Secretary Sajid Javid is a tactic to ensure his removal. He said: “The arguments we’ve made are really sound – that the public interest is not being served by my deportation. It’s almost as if they know if they respond it triggers the legal process that stops me getting on that plane.”
There has been no response from the Home Secretary despite repeated attempts to contact him including the delivery of a cross-party letter signed by 120 MPs and MSPs in opposition to Mr Adoboli’s deportation. His inaction, Mr Adoboli says, is “inhumane”.
Facing possible exile from the only home he has known since he was 12 years old, Mr Adoboli hopes to be reunited with his partner of four months, Alice, soon.
He broke down at the thought of never seeing her, or his adopted home of Scotland, again. He said: “I thought, ‘what if I don’t get out of this. What if I never see them again? Then the wave of emotions comes again. It is tough.”
Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston where Mr Adoboli has lived for three years, is working ceaselessly to have his case heard in Parliament. She said: “This is not just going against Kweku’s human rights but it’s against all of the major parties. It’s not just unfair but very undemocratic. All I’m asking for is due process. I’m not asking for him to be treated favourably but for the rules and the law to be applied properly. He has served his time and he’s not a danger to society.”