London, Sept 25: A London-based Indian-origin trader accused of triggering the Wall Street "flash crash" which allegedly wiped out nearly USD 1 trillion in market value five years ago has been given until February next year to prepare for his extradition hearing to the US.
Navinder Singh Sarao appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court here today for what was scheduled as a hearing to decide on his extradition to the US, but was told a fresh arrest warrant had now been issued against him.
The US authorities, who had sought his extradition from the UK to face charges over conduct between 2009 and 2014, now say the 37-year-old's criminal activity stretched over six months longer than first claimed.
Judge Quentin Purdy told Sarao he should have time to prepare in light of the new dates and set February 4 and 5 for the new hearing.
"Sarao is understandably distressed. His mental health is fragile. It adds to the stress and strain these proceedings have put on him," said his lawyer Joel Smith.
Sarao faces a sentence of up to 380 years in a US jail if convicted of masterminding the 2010 fraud on a Chicago-based stock exchange. He was arrested by British police on a US warrant in April and has been indicted by a US federal grand jury on 22 criminal counts, including wire fraud, commodities fraud, commodity price manipulation and attempted price manipulation.
The former bank worker and Brunel University student, who lives and worked out of his parents' home in Hounslow near Heathrow airport, is accused of using an automated trading program to "spoof" markets by generating large sell orders that pushed down prices.
He then cancelled those trades and bought contracts at lower prices, prosecutors say. The so-called "flash crash" saw the Dow Jones industrial average briefly plunge more than 1,000 points on May 6, 2010, temporarily wiping out nearly USD 1 trillion in market value. Sarao, who denies any wrongdoing, has already spent four months in prison after failing to meet 5-million pound bail terms because his assets had been frozen.
He was released earlier this month after US authorities agreed he could be released on bail of 50,000 pounds. His case has now been adjourned until October 22 for legal argument ahead of the hearing next year.