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‘Flash crash’ trader seeks appeal of extradition decision


Navinder Singh Sarao, the trader who allegedly placed £Billions of bets on the stock market is appealing his extradition to the United States. The position he has now taken is that the bets he placed were ‘spoof’ bets.

US authorities are convinced that Sarao deliberately placed massive trades on the market in order to artificially and dishonestly shift the market in his favour.

Following a request by the FBI Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June ordered his extradition to face charges that could see him be sentenced to up to 380 years in jail.

His case in being widely publicized due to the public fascination with the high speed electronic bets that he placed; this is known as ‘flash trading’ and involves trades that can take less than a thousandth of a second to place.

Leading extradition lawyer, George Hepburne Scott claims that this involves consideration of highly technical areas of law that only a handful of lawyers in the world are experienced in.

It is alleged that in 2009 Sarao caused massive fluctuations in the US stock market that generated huge instability in leading stocks such as a 1,000 point swing in the Dow Jones.

Leading market experts point to the volatility of the derivatives market in particular during the relavant period.

On 14th October the High Court will decide whether of not to block the extradition. Top lawyers are expected to argue the case.

There have already been many court hearings at Westminster Magistrates Court and now the scene is set for a further showdown.

Then Home Secretary, Theresa May had already ordered the extradition and this is the decision that lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Sarao are now seeking to overturn by way of judicial review.

Mr Sarao’s Swiss bank accounts have been frozen by the US authorities and they are reputed to have held £26M in cash.

The US is arguing that there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ that he has committed these crimes and that is all that is required to be proved following a 2003 treaty between the two countries.

The main financial market that Mr Sarao traded on is te Chicago Metals Market. He is said to have placed such huge trades there that top bankers at Wall Street giants JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs became concerned that markets were being artificially manipulated.

There followed a global investigation that ultimately led to Mr Sarao’s Houndslow bedroom where it was reported that he was sitting in his underpants when officers from the National Crime Agency swooped to arrest him.

The case will now be fully argued by lawyers in October and it is thought that the media interest in the proceedings will be intense.