Comverse tycoon gets bail in Namibia

Israeli Kobi Alexander is wanted by US for alleged stock market scam.

October 3, 2006 13:31
2 minute read.
kobi alexander 88

kobi alexander 88. (photo credit: )


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Ya'akov (Kobi) Alexander, a fugitive businessman accused in a US in a multimillion-dollar stock manipulating scheme, was released on bail for $1.3 million Tuesday by a Namibian judge after stating he had entered the country openly and lawfully and wanted to invest in the southern African country where he was arrested after a two-month international manhunt. Alexander, the former chief executive of New York-based voicemail software maker Comverse Technology Inc., was arrested Sept. 26 in the Namibian capital Windhoek at the request of the FBI. The Namibian government said it opposed bail pending a formal extradition request form the United States, said Justice Ministry official Dennis Khama. The US has 30 days to lodge a formal extradition request. US Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said last week she would seek Alexander's swift extradition to face charges in federal court in Brooklyn. In an affidavit filed with the court, Alexander, 54, an Israeli citizen, said he had been living in the desert country with his wife and three children since July and had transferred almost US$16 million (about €12 million) from Israel to Namibian commercial banks. "While in Namibia I have used my own name openly and publicly in all my encounters and ventures with government officials and private individuals alike. "I entered Namibia openly and lawfully, and I have not in any manner tried to hide my whereabouts from anyone," he said. It is alleged that from 1991 through 2005, Alexander exercised options and sold stocks worth approximately US$150 million, making a US$138 million profit. Of that, about US$6.4 million was generated by backdating options. Two other defendants, former finance chief David Kreinberg and former senior general counsel William Sorin, surrendered in August and were released on US$1 million bond each. A complaint unsealed in US federal court accuses the three men of making stock options more lucrative by backdating their exercise price to a low point in the stock's value. Usually, a stock option's exercise price coincides with the market value at the time of a grant to give the recipient an incentive to drive the price higher. Prosecutors allege the two other defendants earned about US$1 million each on backdated options. Before he disappeared, Alexander allegedly transferred millions to Israel. In his affidavit, Alexander, who says he is not a citizen of the US or holder of an American passport, claims that the warrant of arrest for his capture was "irregularly issued" and invalid. He claims correct procedures were not followed, saying that the US attorney had no standing to request his arrest in Namibia and that he "did not commit any crimes in this jurisdiction."

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