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US breakthrough in Oz bomb hoax case

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NSW Police are about to apply to extradite a 52-year-old Australian arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, over the Madeleine Pulver bomb hoax.

This morning, Sydney time, police announced the arrest, saying that the unnamed man collared by NSW police and FBI officers has “no known relationship” to the family. Police say he was under surveillance for several days before taking off for America.

Over the weekend, Australian media were reporting a breakthrough in the case, with police seizing a library computer in the coastal town of Kincumber, near Avoca where the Pulver family has a holiday home.

Earlier, the investigation was looking at a curious link with the James Clavell novel Tai-Pan, quoted in the extortion note left with the bomb.

Madeleine Pulver, daughter of software millionaire Bill Pulver, was targeted in an afternoon attack in which an object, which her assailant described as a bomb, was tied around her neck. She was told the device could be detonated remotely, and was also told not to call police.

It was ten hours before police determined that the supposed bomb was a hoax, after which they were able to release the schoolgirl from the device.

Police have said they believe the attack was an extortion attempt, but has kept information close to the chest. Presumably, as extradition hearings in America take place, more details are bound to emerge. ®

Update: NSW Police press conference

The police have expanded their description of the man they have arrested as being a businessman who commutes between Australia and America. NSW Police assistant commissioner David Hudson of the state crime command said there were “some links” to the family, but would not comment on whether those were “direct” links.

The assistant commissioner says the arrested man “was not a suspect at the time he left [Australia]”.

Hudson says the man has family both in Australia and the USA, and that he is primarily a Sydney resident. At the time of writing, the man was under arrest, but had not yet been charged. He is, at the moment, considered a suspect, and is being held under a “provisional warrant”. ®

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