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Comverse ex-exec settles civil action for $53M


Jacob "Kobi'' Alexander, the former chief of Comverse Technology Inc., waits for proceedings to begin in the magistrates court. (July 9, 2007) Photo Credit: Bloomberg News File, 2007

Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, the former head of then Long-Island based Comverse Technology who was charged criminally with masterminding a multimillion-dollar stock option fraud, Tuesday settled federal civil actions against him by agreeing to a forfeiture and fine totaling $53 million, officials said.

Alexander, 57, an Israeli citizen with legal U.S. residence who fled to the southwestern African nation of Namibia, is still facing federal criminal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. The settlement of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department civil actions does not affect the criminal case, according to officials.

The forfeiture amount of $47 million will be returned to Comverse to reimburse stockholders who were victims of his alleged scheme, officials said. The remainder, $6 million, will go to the SEC as a fine, officials said.

Comverse, the maker of software for cell phones, had been based in Woodbury but moved to Manhattan after Alexander fled to Namibia in 2006.

"Mr. Alexander is pleased to have resolved the SEC and [federal] civil-forfeiture actions and put these matters behind him," Jeremy Temkin, one of Alexander's lawyers, said Tuesday. " without any admission of fault on his part."

"This case underscores the important role asset forfeiture plays in recovering stolen money . . . and returning it to the victims of their crimes," said Loretta Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District, in announcing the settlement. "Alexander fled halfway around the world, but he was not able to escape the financial consequences of his crimes."

Assistant U. S. attorneys who are prosecuting the case, Ilene Jaroslaw and Kathleen Nandan, could not be reached to comment.

For the past four years, Alexander has successfully fended off a U.S. government attempt in the courts of the former British colony to extradite him to the United States. He also has invested $11 million in various projects in the African nation, including a housing project for low-income people and businesses, according to local newspaper reports.

Alexander also has waged a public-relations campaign in Namibia, highlighting his benefits to the country's economy, according to the reports.

Most recently Alexander won a ruling in the Namibian Supreme Court that said that country's law requiring fugitives to be jailed while awaiting extradition was unconstitutional. Alexander had been out on bail while fighting the U.S. extradition request and the law requiring that he be jailed.

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