Former Lernout & Hauspie CEO sent back to jail

Former Lernout & Hauspie CEO sent back to jail

A federal judge in Boston has sent the former CEO of software vendor Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV (L&H) back to jail while Belgian officials mull a deal that would allow him to remain free for 10 days before surrendering to them to face fraud, stock-manipulation and other charges.

At an extradition hearing in US District Court on Tuesday, attorneys for Gaston Bastiaens said they had asked the Belgian authorities to allow him to remain free for 10 days to get his affairs in order, at which time he would voluntarily surrender to them, said Samantha Martin, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office in Boston.

Martin said Bastiaens is being held in a federal jail in Rhode Island while his attorneys try to get Belgian officials to agree to the arrangement.

"If they agree to the side deal, then we're pretty much out of it. We have no say in it. We just arrested him because of our extradition treaty with Belgium," Martin said. "But if they don't [come to an agreement], then we'll go forward with the bail hearing."

Martin said she didn't know when the issue might be resolved.

Bastiaens was arrested by US marshals on Saturday at his home in Boston on charges contained in a Belgian warrant that include fraud and stock price manipulation.

Last month, Belgian authorities arrested the two founders of Ieper, Belgium-based L&H, which also has headquarters in Burlington, Mass. Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie and former Managing Director Nico Wallaert were charged with stock price manipulation and false accounting. Belgian officials filed similar charges against Bastiaens at the same time.

Sumner Lemon of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.

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