A ruling by a London judge to send a currency trader to face fraud charges in the US demonstrates “the relative ease with which City professionals can be extradited” to America, lawyers have argued.

Stuart Scott, the former head of currency trading at the City of London office of HSBC Holdings, was ordered by District Judge Michael Snow at Westminster magistrates’ court to be extradited to the US.

He faces fraud charges there over allegations around a $3.5 billion (£2.66 billion) currency order from Cairn Energy in 2011 that resulted in an $8 million profit for the bank. Scott said that he would appeal the ruling.

Andrew Smith, a partner at the London white collar crime specialist law firm Corker Binning, said that the judgment “demonstrates the relative ease with which City professionals can be extradited from the UK to the US on allegations of financial misconduct. 

“Extradition lawyers in the UK know all too well that our judges will adopt a flexible interpretation of the conduct alleged in the extradition request in order to satisfy themselves that there is an equivalent UK offence. 

“Given these risks, when faced with a US extradition request, a client should always be advised by UK and US lawyers about the merits of foregoing a protracted extradition battle and instead agreeing a negotiated return with bail conditions.” 

Ben Keith, an extradition specialist barrister at 5 St Andrews Hill chambers in London, added:

“It is very difficult to defeat extradition requests by the United States, especially in fraud cases.”

This article first appeared on The Times Brief website, on 27 October 2017, and is accessible online here via the Times subscription service.