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Fugitive loses bid to stop seizure

September 11, 2007|From Times Wire Services

Former Comverse Technology Inc. Chief Executive Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, a fugitive from criminal charges, lost a bid Monday to stop U.S. prosecutors from seizing about $50 million in two of his bank accounts.

The government claims that a portion of the money constitutes profits from an illegal option-backdating scheme at New York-based Comverse, a maker of voice-mail software.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in New York rejected Alexander's argument that allowing the government to attach the two Citigroup Smith Barney accounts would violate his constitutional rights. The judge said there was nothing preventing Alexander from returning to the U.S. from Namibia, where he now lives, to fight the criminal charges.

After Alexander was charged, he was arrested in Namibia last September, where he bought a home. He is free on bail there while the U.S. seeks his extradition to face 35 criminal counts, including conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering.

Alexander flew to Israel from the U.S. on June 21, 2006, while federal prosecutors were investigating him and Comverse, the judge said in his ruling. As Alexander's lawyers were promising that he would return to the U.S. by June 28, 2006, Alexander wired $57 million from one account to his accounts in Israel, the judge said.

Robert Morvillo, a lawyer for Alexander, couldn't be reached for comment Monday. Assistant U.S. Atty. Kathleen Nandan, who is representing the government in the case, declined to comment on the ruling.

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