Wednesday 20 November 2019

£500bn 'flash crash' trader fights US extradition

Trader Navinder Singh Sarao's urban home
Trader Navinder Singh Sarao's urban home

James Quinn in London

A British man accused of triggering the 2010 'flash crash', which wiped hundreds of billions of pounds from global stock markets, has said he will fight his extradition to the US.

Navinder Singh Sarao, who worked as a day trader from his parents' semi-detached house in Hounslow, West London, faces a maximum sentence of 380 years in an American jail as a result of the allegations, which emerged late on Tuesday night.

He is alleged to have been at the centre of the so-called 'flash crash', which knocked the major US stock market - the Dow Jones Industrial Average - by almost 1,000 points during one 45-minute period in May 2010, triggering hundreds of billions of pounds of losses. The amount lost has been estimated at over €500bn.

But appearing before Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday, Mr Singh said he does not consent to the extradition order. Appearing in a yellow jumper and white tracksuit bottoms, and unshaven, Mr Singh spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth, and to confirm he would fight extradition. He appeared alone in court, without family or friends.

Mr Joel Smith, speaking for the defence, said the arrest had come as "something of a bolt from the blue" and sought time to arrange a bail application. Mr Aaron Watkins, prosecuting on behalf of the Justice Authority of the United States of America, asked that bail be denied, saying that given the seriousness of the charges against Mr Sarao, he may resist arrest.

Mr Watkins told the court Mr Sarao will face a "lengthy sentence" if found guilty: "It is evident from that, that taking them all together, if convicted of one or more, there is a prospect of a lengthy sentence after a trial." The charges of wire fraud, commodities fraud, commodities manipulation and "spoofing" levelled at Mr Saro carry prison sentences of between 10 and 25 years per count, or a possible $1m fine. The court heard that a full extradition hearing will be held in August.

Bail was set at £5.05m following an hour-long bail hearing. The court also heard that Mr Sarao was born and raised in the UK, studied at Brunel University in west London, and worked in banking before he began his career as a day trader.

Mr Sarao (36) has been charged by the US Department of Justice with one count of wire fraud, 10 counts of commodities fraud, 10 counts of commodities manipulation, and one count of "spoofing," a practice of bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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