Tuesday May 8 7:36 AM ET
Alleged Swindler to the Stars to Be Tried

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Christopher Rocancourt, accused of spinning tales of a jet-set life and fleecing the rich and famous around the globe, will stand trial in Canada before he is returned to the United States, a prosecutor said on Monday.

Rocancourt, whose alleged aliases include ``Christopher Rockefeller'', showed little emotion during a brief appearance in a British Columbia Supreme Court that will hear an extradition request from the United States. He is wanted on fraud charges in New York and California.

Rocancourt was arrested with his former Playboy model wife, Maria ``Pia'' Reyes, on April 26 near Victoria, B.C., for allegedly defrauding a Vancouver-area businessman of more than C$100,000 ($65,000) by portraying himself as a wealthy Formula One race car driver and international financier.

Rocancourt has denied any wrongdoing.

U.S. authorities almost immediately said they wanted Rocancourt sent to them, but he will face trial in Canada before being extradited to any other country, said Deborah Strachan, a Canadian federal prosecutor who will represent the United States in the extradition.

Switzerland and France have also reportedly expressed interest in questioning Rocancourt, 33, a French national, but have not formally contracted Canadian authorities.

Rocancourt became a minor celebrity last year after news reports emerged about his alleged exploits in the Hamptons, a summer playground for wealthy New York society, during which he allegedly soaked victims for nearly $1 million before being arrested.

Rocancourt fled the United States after being released on $45,000 bail.

California authorities also want him on charges stemming from the late 1990s, when he lived in the Beverly Hills area and rubbed elbows with Hollywood elite such as actors Mickey Rourke and Jean-Claude Van Damme -- at times by claiming to be a close friend of Bill Clinton.

Rocancourt has been held in custody since his arrest last month. He was ordered on Monday to return to court on June 18, at which time he may request bail, attorneys said.