Argentine Court Upholds Credit Suisse Executive Arrest Request

An Argentine appeals court has upheld an international arrest order for Credit Suisse Group AG executive David Mulford for failing to testify in a probe on the events leading to the country’s 2001 debt default, court documents show.

A three-judge panel in Buenos Aires said Feb. 7 that Judge Marcelo Martinez de Giorgi’s Sept. 3 ruling requesting Interpol assistance in locating and extraditing Mulford in connection to the probe is valid and must proceed, according to a copy of the ruling filed to Argentina’s court information system. The judges said the appeal signed by Mulford’s lawyer was “inconsistent.”

Drew Benson, a spokesman for Credit Suisse in New York, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News by telephone. Andres Espina and Marcos Salt, Mulford’s lawyers in Argentina, didn’t reply to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment. Mulford, now based in London, didn’t immediately reply to a phone call to his office seeking comment.

A former U.S. Treasury undersecretary and U.S. Ambassador to India, Mulford was chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston International when he was tapped by then-Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo in 2001 to engineer a $16 billion debt exchange amid the country’s financial crisis.

Today, Mulford serves as international vice-chairman of Credit Suisse. The ruling was first reported by local news organization DyN on Feb. 11 during an Argentine holiday.

The Buenos Aires court has been investigating for a decade former government officials, including Cavallo, for possible crimes committed during the the swap, known as the “megacanje,” in Spanish, or big swap. The swap preceded Argentina’s default on $95 billion in bonds that same year.

Argentina and the U.K. have a valid extradition treaty dated 1882, said Carolina Navarro, an official at the international assistance desk at Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a phone interview from Buenos Aires.