The Curious Case of Hernan Arbizu, Part 4

Hernan Arbizu (see entries passim, parts 1, 2, 3) has been arrested in Argentina! He’s charged with embezzling about $5.4 million from bank clients. Martha Graybow reports:

He was arrested on Monday in Buenos Aires and is being held by Argentine authorities, pending extradition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said…

According to the criminal indictment, Arbizu initiated or helped initiate 12 unauthorized wire transfers from private banking clients at JPMorgan and UBS between March 2007 and April 2008.

This is a much bigger deal than we were given to understand until now. For one thing, how on earth did a JP Morgan private banker get access to UBS’s private-banking accounts? Is there some kind of law that UBS has to be involved in every banking scandal in America? And how come JP Morgan didn’t discover Arbizu’s embezzlement for over a year?

JP Morgan is seeking the return of the $5.4 million, which implies that Arbizu stole the money himself, rather than simply transferring it from one client to another, as originally seemed to be the case. Maybe that’s why the Argentines have decided to allow extradition proceedings to go ahead, despite the fact that Arbizu is an Argentine cititzen.

If this case does end up going to trial in the US, it should make for some pretty interesting courtroom theater. Given today’s developments, I’m hopeful that it will. But the one thing we know from the story so far is that when it comes to Hernan Arbizu, very little makes sense, and nothing ever quite goes according to plan.

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