(Bloomberg) -- Sanjay Shah, a hedge-fund trader accused of defrauding the Danish state of $1.3 billion in the Cum-Ex trading scam, has been handed over to Denmark to face criminal charges just over a year after he was arrested in Dubai.
Shah was taken into custody by police on his arrival in Copenhagen on Wednesday, and will be taken to court for a bail hearing on Thursday morning, Danish police said in a statement.
Denmark’s foreign minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, said he was “more than satisfied” with the extradition and that it sends “an important signal that you cannot achieve impunity by staying abroad.”
Denmark and the United Arab Emirates signed an extradition deal in March last year, with Shah’s handover being one of the main purposes.
Danish prosecutors allege Shah oversaw the Cum-Ex trading scam involving a global network of bankers, lawyers and agents who earned vast sums of money from Denmark’s tax authority by using a loophole on dividend payouts to reap duplicate tax refunds. Shah has consistently maintained his innocence.
“The extradition process has been slow, opaque and haphazard,” Shah’s Danish defense lawyers, Kaare Pihlmann and Mikael Skjodt, said in a statement earlier on Wednesday. “We are relieved that the uncertainty is now over.”
Shah’s trial in Denmark has already been delayed three times because he hadn’t been extradited on time.
While the case is now scheduled to begin in January, it’s likely to be further postponed as his lawyers need three to six months to prepare, Pihlmann told Bloomberg by phone.
Denmark has brought criminal charges against a total of nine people related to the scandal, in which the state was defrauded of about 12.7 billion kroner ($1.9 billion). Shah will be tried with British hedge fund trader Anthony Patterson, who was extradited to Denmark in July and jailed pending trial.
The Nordic nation is also pursuing a civil lawsuit against Shah and his associates in London, where a trial is scheduled to go ahead in April after the UK’s top court rejected attempts by Shah’s lawyers to stop the case.
Chris Waters of London firm Meaby & Co Solicitors, coordinating the worldwide defense of Shah and his companies, said the trades undertaken by Shah were lawful and that he will “vigorously defend himself in both the Danish and London courts.”
“Mr. Shah continues to challenge whether he can receive a fair trial in Denmark and this matter is ongoing,” Waters said.
UAE’s WAM news agency said the minister of justice had approved the extradition. The move “confirms the UAE’s determination to collaborate with international partners in the pursuit of international justice, and to strengthen the integrity of the international financial system,” WAM said.
The Gulf country is ramping up efforts to exit a global watchdog’s “gray list” of countries subject to greater oversight for shortcomings in tackling illicit finance. Last year, officials said they planned to sign multiple extradition agreements as part of efforts to cleanse its image.
That followed Shah’s arrest, and after authorities detained Atul and Rajesh Gupta — who’re wanted in South Africa on charges of money laundering and fraud. A local court this year denied the African nation’s plea to extradite the Gupta brothers.
--With assistance from Karin Matussek.
(Updates with details on Shah’s arrival in Copenhagen in second paragraph)
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