FBI checks into report that Jacob Alexander is in Sri Lanka

EX-CEO of Comverse Technology traced through int'l money transfer and Skype phone call.

kobi alexander 88 (photo credit: )
kobi alexander 88
(photo credit: )
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is checking whether fugitive Jacob Alexander, the former chief executive officer of Comverse Technology Inc., is hiding in Sri Lanka, a US Embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv said. Alexander, 54, who is known by the nickname Kobi, was traced through an international money transfer and a Skype Technologies SA phone call between his family home in Israel and Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, according to private detective Moshe Buller, who followed up his leads by getting on a plane to Sri Lanka. "I saw him with my own eyes; it was definitely Kobi," said Buller, who was hired by a New York venture capital fund that he declined to identify in a telephone interview Thursday. "The place is so small, it wasn't hard to find him." The founder of Comverse, the world's biggest maker of voice-mail software, was declared a fugitive by US authorities August 15. He failed to show up for a court hearing in Brooklyn, New York, August 18. Buller said Alexander has left Sri Lanka since he saw him there Wednesday and doesn't know where he is now. Alexander was charged with backdating stock options so employees could buy shares at low prices, a tool used to recruit and retain workers. His New York-based lawyer, Robert Morvillo, said August 18 that he didn't know where Alexander was and hadn't been in touch with him for almost a month when his client called him from Israel. Morvillo didn't return a voice-mail message left at his office Thursday, requesting comment on the matter. Ma'ariv first reported that Alexander was hiding in the Sri Lankan fishing village of Nagomba Sri Lanka. "The FBI is aware of the report and checking whether it's true," US Embassy spokesman Stewart Tuttle said in a telephone interview. David Kreinberg, Comverse's former chief financial officer, and William Sorin, its former director and general counsel, were charged with Alexander over the same stock-option backdating scheme. Both pleaded not guilty and are free on bail. Assistant US Attorney Linda Lacewell told a judge August 18 that her office had agreed with lawyers for Kreinberg and Sorin to extend a deadline on whether to indict the two to September 26 from September 18. Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the US attorney's office prosecuting Alexander, had no comment Thursday on Alexander. Keren Peer, a spokesman for Comverse in Israel, said the company didn't know where Alexander was and had no comment.