Ex-Credit Suisse trader to fight U.S. extradition

LONDON Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:08pm EDT

A logo is seen in front of a Credit Suisse building in Zurich, May 4, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A logo is seen in front of a Credit Suisse building in Zurich, May 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

LONDON (Reuters) - A former Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX) trader, accused by U.S. authorities over a $3 billion fraud involving subprime mortgage bonds, said he would fight a U.S. extradition request when he appeared in a British court on Thursday.

Kareem Serageldin, former global head of structure credit trading for Credit Suisse, was arrested on Wednesday in London where he has been since U.S. prosecutors filed charges against him earlier this year.

He is the most senior banker charged in a scandal dating back to 2007, in which mortgage-backed securities traders were caught trying to cover up $540 million in losses on their books, prosecutors say.

Appearing at London's Westminster Magistrates Court, Serageldin said he would not comply with the extradition order sought by U.S. authorities. A UK hearing to decide his case will be heard on November 28.

Serageldin, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, was granted bail but must provide a surety of 150,000 pounds ($242,200)and wear an electronic tagging device.

The arrest was due to a "miscommunication" with U.S. authorities with whom Serageldin has been negotiating a plea settlement, his lawyer Ben Brandon said.

"The (U.S.) Department of Justice has oddly taken the view that his revocation of U.S. citizenship was somehow in anticipation of fleeing this jurisdiction," Brandon said.

Serageldin, who is also a British citizen, recently surrendered his U.S. citizenship in order to be able to serve out any prison sentence in Britain if convicted in the United States, the lawyer said.

The Egyptian-born former trader stared intently around the courtroom throughout the hearing, but lowered his eyes and pursed his lips when the prosecutor outlined the charges against him to the judge.

Two other employees pleaded guilty in the U.S. federal court in February to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsify books and records, making it the first successful U.S. prosecution of employees of a major bank involved in the subprime meltdown of 2007-08.

U.S. prosecutors have charged Serageldin with the same conspiracy counts, as well as additional charges of falsifying books and records and wire fraud. ($1 = 0.6193 British pounds)

(Reporting by Alessandra Prentice, writing by Michael Holden)