Fugitive Danish IT chief surrenders at LA copshop
Stein Bagger on Skid Row
Stein Bagger, the boss of bankrupt Danish IBM reseller IT Factory, who has been on the run after being linked to a huge alleged fraud, turned himself in at a Los Angeles police station on Saturday.
"I am Stein Bagger. I'm a fugitive from Europe and I'm here to turn myself in," The LA Times reports he said to the desk officer at a station near Skid Row. The police did not believe him, it's reported, until they noticed his Rolex watch and Armani suit.
LAPD said a computer check confirmed Bagger was wanted by Interpol on charges of counterfeiting, forgery and fraud. He was turned over to US federal authorities on Saturday evening. According to Danish state TV today, witnesses said he has already landed in Copenhagen, although fraud investigators refused to confirm the reports.
Bagger vanished on a trip to Dubai with his wife on November 27. It's reported he told the LAPD that he flew to New York, borrowed a friend's credit card and Audi and drove across the US to Los Angeles, checking into the Hollywood Best Western motel on Friday night.
When he decided to surrender himself on Saturday morning he reportedly typed "police" into the Audi's satnav, which led him to LAPD's Central Division station, the first to come up alphabetically. Bagger told officers he had been the victim of a plot, according to the The LA Times.
IT Factory's chairman Asger Jensby applied for corporate bankruptcy on the same day Bagger disappeared, alleging his signature had been forged on company documents. Police have since been seeking the Ernst & Young Danish Entrepreneur of the Year in connection with an $85m hole in IT Factory accounts.
The scandal has gripped Denmark, where Bagger was a well-known and flamboyant business figure. "We've had several people come in and tell us they were the king of Denmark," said LAPD officer Jack Richter, explaining his initial incredulity when the fugitive announced himself. ®
The Danish Serious Fraud Office has confirmed Bagger is not yet in the country,