UK court approves ex-Credit Suisse trader's extradition to U.S.

A British court on Monday approved the extradition of a former Credit Suisse trader to the United States, where he is wanted over a $540-million fraud dating back to the subprime mortgage crisis.

The case of Kareem Serageldin will now be sent to Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, who under British law has the final say over extraditions to the United States. She is expected to give the green light for the transfer to take place.

Serageldin, 39, the Swiss bank's former global head of structured credit, is accused of artificially inflating the prices of mortgage-backed bonds between August 2007 and February 2008, when their real value was plummeting.

Two former Credit Suisse colleagues who reported to him at the time pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court in February of last year to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsify books and records.

The case was the first successful U.S. prosecution of employees of a major bank over wrongdoing connected to the subprime meltdown.

Serageldin's lawyer, Ben Brandon, had previously told Westminster Magistrates' Court that the ex-trader was close to reaching a plea agreement with U.S. authorities. But at Monday's hearing he made no mention of any negotiations or agreement.

Brandon did not contest Serageldin's extradition, which was approved by judge Quentin Purdy.

Under Britain's extradition procedures, May will issue her decision between four weeks and two months from now. Serageldin remains on bail until then.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison)