Trader in Insider Plot Detained, One Suspect Lost to Blunder

(Bloomberg) -- A securities trader facing extradition on U.S. insider-trading charges was denied bail by a London judge, even as authorities in Monaco revealed that a banker arrested in the same plot walked away as the U.S. was seeking to bring him to New York.

Meanwhile, a third suspect in the global scandal was reported to have been arrested in the U.K. three years ago in connection with a similar investigation. She’s at large back in her native Thailand, according to the U.S.

The three were charged by the U.S. in a crackdown on what’s alleged to be a global insider-trading ring also targeting a Greek with a chain of Manhattan restaurants, the son of a pharmaceuticals company board member and a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. vice president. The last two were arrested this month in New York, with the judge denying bail to one and demanding house arrest and a $750,000 bond for the other. The restaurant owner is at large in Greece, prosecutors said.

At a hearing in London on Monday, Joseph El-Khouri, who holds dual Lebanese-British citizenship, was deemed a flight risk in part due to the time he spent in Monaco, where the U.S. says he’s an avid poker player. He allegedly paid Benjamin Taylor, the defendant who evaded extradition in Monaco, and Darina Windsor, the suspect who was arrested in 2016, at least $1 million in cash and other benefits for market-sensitive information in 2015 and personally made $2 million, according to prosecutors.

The 52-year-old trader appeared unshaven and haggard via video link from Wandsworth prison. He suffered two heart attacks last month and is taking medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol, his lawyer Edward Jones said. Jones unsuccessfully argued that the health problems, combined with his ties to London, meant El-Khouri was unlikely to flee. El-Khouri is next due in court on Nov. 25 for another hearing though his extradition case is unlikely to begin this year.

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Also on Monday, Monaco prosecutor Sylvie Petit-Leclair said Taylor had been released after a U.S. request for his extradition that wasn’t made in French. Taylor, 35, was arrested in Monaco, a principality in the southeast corner of France, and was being held pending the request, Petit-Leclair said in an interview. But a court rejected the request in May because it had been filed only in English, in breach of a Monaco law requiring extradition requests to include a French translation, Petit-Leclair said.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment on the Monaco arrest. U.S. prosecutors had said in announcing the case that Taylor, who is French, is living in France, which doesn’t extradite its citizens.

Windsor was previously arrested in the U.K. three years ago in connection with a similar investigation, the Financial Times reported Monday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter and U.K. court records.

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