U.S. Fugitive Starts Over in Namibia
By BLOOMBERG NEWS
Jacob Alexander, the former chief executive of Comverse Technology wanted in the United States for securities fraud, has formed a company in Namibia that will invest in construction, tourism and agriculture.
Mr. Alexander, 54, who is known as Kobi, was declared a fugitive by American prosecutors in August, when he was accused of fraud conspiracy. After fleeing the United States, he traveled via Israel to Namibia with his wife, Hanna, and three children, arriving at the end of July.
His Namibian company, Kobi Alexander Enterprises, has already developed two projects in the coastal city of Walvis Bay involving the construction of 200 houses for low-income residents, the company said in an advertisement yesterday in The Namibian, a local newspaper.
“Mr. Kobi Alexander, its founder, brings with him a wealth of business acumen,” the advertisement said. “He is the founder of Comverse Technology, the world’s leading supplier of enhanced services for telecommunications companies.”
Mr. Alexander, an Israeli citizen, was arrested in Namibia in September. He is free on bail while the United States seeks his return to face 35 counts related to stock option backdating, conspiracy, securities fraud, money laundering and bribery. He said he would plead not guilty to the charges.
An extradition hearing is scheduled for late April. His lawyer, Richard Metcalfe, did not immediately return a call left on his cellphone.
Before being arrested on Sept. 27, Mr. Alexander transferred 120 million Namibian dollars ($16.9 million) from Israel to Namibia and was granted a two-year work permit on a pledge to spend 300 million Namibian dollars in the country.
Comverse’s former general counsel, William Sorin, pleaded guilty in November to taking part in an options backdating scheme that led to charges against Mr. Alexander. Mr. Sorin also agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission accusations he conspired to backdate stock options. David Kreinberg, Comverse’s former finance chief, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company