Argentine judge orders arrest of Credit Suisse executive

BUENOS AIRES Mon Sep 3, 2012 5:44pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A judge in Argentina has ordered the arrest of Credit Suisse executive and former U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Mulford because he failed to testify over a 2001 Argentine debt swap, the state news agency reported on Monday.

Federal Judge Marcelo Martinez de Giorgi will ask Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant seeking Mulford's extradition for questioning over the bond exchange carried out by the government in an unsuccessful bid to avoid default.

Mulford, who currently serves as vice chairman international of Credit Suisse Investment Bank, was seen as one of the debt swap's architects when he served as a senior official at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB).

The Swiss bank declined to comment.

Argentina's government swapped about $30 billion in debt for new, longer-maturity issues in June 2001. But it stopped paying most of its debts six months later as the economy collapsed.

A local court has been investigating the swap for more than 10 years to see if Argentine officials committed any crime when they hired banks to carry out the swap. Former Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo and former Finance Secretary Daniel Marx have been charged in the case, which has yet to go to trial.

Mulford was first called to testify in the probe in 2002 but he has never done so, according to court documents cited by the Telam news agency.

Argentine officials have "made numerous attempts by all possible legal means to achieve David Mulford's compliance, in this country's territory as well as through U.S. authorities, and all of these have invariably failed," the documents stated.

Cavallo said in the past that Mulford was one of the main engineers of the swap.

Mulford worked at the U.S. Treasury from 1984 to 1992 and was at the center of international economic negotiations under former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

He later served as the U.S. ambassador to India.

(Reporting by Hilary Burke; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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