Brexit May Help Ex-Deutsche Bank Trader Avoid Extradition

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s decision to leave the European Union might be Andreas Hauschild’s best hope of remaining in it.

Hauschild, a former Deutsche Bank AG trader who faces possible extradition to the U.K. over Euribor rate-rigging charges, was arrested in Italy on a European Arrest Warrant, an agreement that enables extradition of suspected criminals between member states.

Now, the 54-year-old may be able stay in place and avoid being sent to a London court where traders from several banks were tried earlier this year. Britain’s participation in that accord is tied to EU membership, and the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said the country will be kicked out of it when it leaves -- though the U.K. wants to remain in the system. Lawyers say it’s not clear what that’d mean for people who’ve already been arrested under the agreement.

Hauschild’s “best bet would be hanging on to March 2019 because no one knows what’s going to happen then,” Kate Goold, an attorney at London-based law firm Bindmans LLP -- who isn’t involved in the case -- said by phone. While Brexit doesn’t guarantee he’s safe from extradition, she said, it does complicate sending him to the U.K. and potentially makes it easier for him to resist.

Swift, Efficient

“Whatever arrangements are set up” after Brexit “probably won’t be as swift and efficient as the European arrest warrant,” she said, adding that she can’t see how current warrants could continue to operate once Britain’s no longer an EU member.

The U.K. will remain in the European Arrest Warrant system throughout the transition period, which is scheduled to run until the end of 2020, according to the draft Brexit treaty. But if there’s no deal, that means no transition, and the U.K. would leave the EU next March without any extension of the rules. The EU’s top court ruled this month that the U.K.’s intention to leave the bloc doesn’t mean member states’ courts can reject arrest warrants from the country before Brexit has happened.

Hauschild’s extradition hearing is scheduled for next month in Milan. His German defense attorney, Eren Basar, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, which issued the arrest warrant, declined to immediately comment.

To be sure, Brexit won’t necessarily invalidate the existing warrant against Hauschild.

“I don’t think it can be right that come the first of April next year, all European arrest warrants suddenly wither on the vine and no longer have effect,” said Andrew Smith, an attorney at London-based Corker Binning, who isn’t involved in the case. The fact that the warrant was issued before the U.K.’s departure should mean it isn’t affected by the split, he said.

Travel Question

Smith questioned why Hauschild traveled to Italy when a Frankfurt legal ruling that shielded him from extradition was only valid as long as he remained at home.

“You’d have thought his lawyers would’ve advised him not to travel outside Germany,” Smith said.

Hauschild is accused of manipulating the euro interbank offered rate, a benchmark behind trillions of dollars worth of securities. He was charged in the U.K. in 2015 with 10 other traders from around the world, but escaped trial because Germany rejected an extradition request.

Two other traders were convicted in the Euribor case, while a jury was unable to reach a verdict on three Barclays Plc traders. One Deutsche Bank manager was cleared by the jury. They were accused of working together to fix the interest rate.

Hauschild was part of Deutsche Bank’s trading pool in Frankfurt, though, after 16 years, he left the lender to become Commerzbank AG’s global head of risk in 2006. While working as a banker, Hauschild earned several business degrees and was this year studying for an executive MBA at the Frankfurt School of Finance.

Alternatives to the European Arrest Warrant and the EU-wide Europol information sharing system are “without exception slower, more bureaucratic and ultimately less effective,” Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs Council, said this month.

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