November 23, 2010, 3:49 PM — Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, the fugitive former chief executive of telecommunications software vendor Comverse Technologies, reportedly will pay $46 million to end civil litigation in the United States.
Alexander, 58, fled the U.S. in 2006 while under investigation by federal prosecutors for illegally backdating millions of Comverse stock options for himself and others. Currently living in Namibia, he is fighting extradition to the U.S. on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, money laundering and making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. If brought back for trial and convicted, Alexander could face 25 years in prison.
The settlement must be approved by a U.S. court.
According to prosecutors, the backdating scheme operated from 1998 to 2002 and involved other Comverse executives. Former CFO David Kreinberg and former corporate attorney William Sorin have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the scandal.
Founded in Israel in 1982, Comverse was delisted from Nasdaq in 2007. The company's corporate headquarters are now in Nassau County, New York. Alexander is an Israel native, but a permanent resident of the U.S. Though not so much lately.
Namibia, located in southern Africa, has no extradition treaty with the U.S. Which, it seems, would make fighting extradition pretty easy.
Chutzpah Bonus Fact: In 2008, Alexander sued Comverse for $72 million, arguing the company owed him severance and had prevented him from exercising "valuable stock options" awarded as part of his compensation.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.