Homm Moves Closer To U.S. Extradition

Jan 13 2014 | 12:45pm ET

Former hedge fund manager Florian Homm's hopes for avoiding a U.S. fraud trial have dwindled to one.

Homm, who was indicted on charges that he defrauded investors of US$200 million after five years in hiding, lost his bid to block extradition to the U.S. before Italy's highest court on Friday. Homm's last chance to stay out of a Los Angeles courtroom will come in an appeal to the Italian Ministry of Justice.

Homm was arrested in Florence last March, six months after releasing a memoir about his time on the run. Homm disappeared after abruptly resigning from his Absolute Capital Management in 2007, eventually settling in Colombia. He returned to Europe in 2012.

U.S. prosecutors allege that Homm cross-traded penny shares between ACM funds to artificially boost their value before dumping his own shares. He faces up to 75 years in prison if convicted.

Lawyers for Homm, who denies wrongdoing, argue that he is not well enough to be moved to Los Angeles or stand trial. Homm suffers from multiple sclerosis. Homm's lawyer in Los Angeles, Jan Lawrence Handzlik, said that he "firmly believes he will be exonerated, but we are gravely concerned about his ability to survive this ordeal."

The argument did not impress the Italian court, which also denied a request by the 54-year-old to be moved to a civilian hospital. Homm has been held in jails in Florence and Pisa since his arrest.

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