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Barclaycard £25m blackmail crypto case cloaked in secrecy

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The veil of secrecy has been thrown over the trial of a former encryption expert at Barclays charged with blackmailing Barclaycard, the credit card issuer.

Pre-trial hearings behind closed doors, or in camera, have already taken place in the case of Graham Browne, today's Guardian has reported. But it's unclear what procedures will be followed during a trial expected to start at the end of the month.

In a highly unusual step, public and press access during a preliminary hearing at the City of London Magistrates Court last October was barred, the paper reports. There is a long established tradition of open justice in English law and holding hearing outside the public gaze is a seldom used procedure normally reserved for cases involving national security, and even then only when discussing particularly sensitive matters.

The Guardian reports that in the £25 million blackmail case against Browne there are fears that details of the security systems protecting Barclaycard's highly sensitive customer records might leak out. Barclaycard has an estimated 8 million customers in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Barclays said there was no need for any Barclaycard customers to be concerned about the case.

"No Barclaycard customers suffered financial loss because of this matter and card holders should continue to use their account as normal and with confidence," she said.

Browne, 57, lives in a village near Crewe. He has pleaded not guilty at pre-trial hearings and denies any plan to blackmail his former employers. The alleged blackmail demands were made between March and September last year. ®

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