Globalisation meets Bulgaria

Here’s another little USA extradition headache for an eastern European country, but unlike the Serbian case where it’s a bar fight that turned out very badly, this one is a tiny little slice of the global nature of the current financial crisis.  At issue is the whereabouts of Bulgarian-born Julian Tzolov, whom federal prosecutors would very much like to talk to about his career as a broker at Credit Suisse selling auction rate securities (asset-backed bonds with frequent yield resets) to now aggrieved clients.  The clients apparently thought they were buying bonds backed by student loans but were in fact buying dodgy mortgages, an impression due it seems to the wheeze of adding the description “student loan” to whatever the asset actually was. 

Whatever the outcome, Tzolov provides a good example of why America can seem like an appealing place: he went from arriving in the US in the early 1990s with not much more than high school graduation to his name, to getting a degree in finance (with a bankruptcy in there somewhere), to jetting to Israel to sell these securities to corporate investors.  He even managed what sounds like a trade-up to Morgan Stanley before the feds started sniffing around and his apartment emptied out.   Anyway, the point is that the US may have been the playground of the financial shenanigans, but everyone was getting involved. 

Amazingly, there is a US-Bulgaria extradition treaty all the way back to 1924, and the US Senate is supposed to ratify a new one very soon.  So there will likely be more about the case in the months ahead.

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