IT fugitive Stein Bagger will be sent back to Denmark
- 10 December, 2008 07:53
Stein Bagger, the Danish IT executive who turned himself in to Los Angeles police on Saturday and confessed to being wanted by Interpol, is being held by U.S. immigration officials and will be sent back to Denmark to face charges.
"He has been very cooperative; he indicated that he wanted to go back to Denmark and face his accusers," a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Monday.
Bagger has not been charged with a crime in the U.S., she said. However, he entered the country under the U.S. visa waiver program, and since he admitted to being wanted for a crime he is not eligible to stay under that program.
"There are no criminal charges facing him in this country. Our desire is to use our administrative authority to return him to Denmark to face justice, and he has told us that is his desire as well," the spokeswoman said.
Bagger, the CEO of Danish software and services company IT Factory, has been wanted by Interpol on conspiracy and fraud charges ever since he disappeared late last month while on vacation with his wife and daughter in the United Arab Emirates.
On Saturday morning he walked into a police station in downtown Los Angeles and gave himself up. He told police he had arrived in New York the week before, borrowed a friend's sports car and credit card, and driven across the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. It's unclear what he did along the way or why he came to the U.S.
"I won't disclose the particulars of any conversations we have had with him," the immigration spokeswoman said.
IT Factory, which provides hosted applications on IBM's Lotus platform, had reported soaring financial results for the past few years, and Bagger was heralded as one of Denmark's leading high-tech entrepreneurs. Then things started to unravel.
Computerworld Denmark, along with an independent reporter, Dorte Toft, published a series of investigative articles that questioned IT Factory's business contracts and leadership. The company is now thought to have created fake contracts with companies that did not exist, and then sold the contracts to banks and other investors. IT Factory filed for bankruptcy early last week, and its chairman estimated that 90 percent of the company's turnover had been fictitious.
The immigration department has been in touch with the Danish consulate in Los Angeles to keep them apprised of Bagger's repatriation progress, the immigration spokeswoman said. A representative at the consulate declined to discuss the matter.
Neither could say exactly when Bagger would be returned to Denmark. He is likely to be escorted by law enforcement officials and handed to the Danish authorities in Copenhagen.