UK hedge fund trader Shah, key ‘cum-ex’ suspect, seeks to block extradition to Denmark

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) – Sanjay Shah, a British hedge fund trader accused of masterminding a $1.8 billion dividend-tax fraud, is attempting to overturn a decision to extradite him from Dubai to face criminal charges in Denmark, a London court heard on Thursday.

Nigel Jones, a lawyer for Shah and linked defendants in a complex, parallel civil case brought by Denmark’s tax authority in London, told the High Court that Shah had launched an appeal – but that a decision had been repeatedly deferred since June 6.

“Mr Shah has sought a reversal of the extradition judgment …” he said.

Denmark alleges Shah ran a fraudulent “cum-ex” scheme that involved submitting wrongful applications to its tax authority for dividend-tax refunds worth billions of Danish crowns on behalf of investors and companies from around the world.

Shah, who was arrested in Dubai last year and remains in detention, denies wrongdoing.

In so-called cum-ex schemes, shares were traded rapidly around banks, investors and hedge funds to blur stock ownership and allow multiple parties to claim tax rebates, exploiting the tax codes of countries such as Denmark, Germany and Belgium.

Abra Bompas, a lawyer for Denmark’s tax authority Skatteforvaltningen (SKAT), which is bringing the civil case in London, told Thursday’s hearing that SKAT understood Shah had exhausted formal avenues of appeal.

An official in the United Arab Emirates said in April that the extradition process had begun.

SKAT has filed a civil lawsuit in London aiming to recover 1.44 billion pounds ($1.82 billion) from Shah, his hedge fund Solo Capital and a number of related parties, alleging it was duped into refunding purported taxes between 2012 and 2015 on dividends that were never paid.

Jones asked the judge on Thursday to urge UAE authorities to allow Shah better access to his legal team so he could properly prepare for a year-long trial in London, pencilled in for April 2024.

The judge said that limitations placed on Shah in jail made it “extremely difficult if not impossible” for him to produce the necessary documents on time.

But he said it would be inappropriate to make any order and risk interfering with other jurisdictions, inviting the parties instead to draw the attention of Dubai authorities to his remarks.

($1 = 6.8218 Danish crowns)

($1 = 0.7906 pounds)

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley)