Fugitive Danish IT chief surrenders

IT Factory head gives himself up in LA

The head of a Danish software company who was sought by Interpol on alleged fraud and conspiracy charges turned himself in at a Los Angeles police station on Saturday, according to a newspaper report.

Stein Bagger, CEO of Danish software and services company IT Factory, had not been seen since he disappeared on November 27 while on holiday with his wife and daughter in Dubai.

On Saturday morning he walked into a police station in downtown Los Angeles and said, "I am Stein Bagger. I'm a fugitive from Europe and I'm here to turn myself in," according to a report in The Los Angeles Times.

Police were initially skeptical but took him more seriously after noticing his Armani suit and $65,000 Rolex wrist watch, the paper said. He was turned over to federal authorities on Saturday night and held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre.

Bagger told police he landed in New York from Dubai on November 28, borrowed a friend's credit card and Audi sports car and drove to Los Angeles. On Saturday morning he typed "police" into the car's navigation system and turned himself in at the first police department that showed up on the list, the Times said.

It's the latest twist in a drama that has made national headlines in Denmark over the past week.

IT Factory was an IBM business partner that provided hosted software services built on IBM's Lotus platform. The company reported soaring revenue and profit for the past few years and Bagger was recently named Danish Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

But last early last week, following investigative reports about the company by Computerworld Denmark, IT Factory filed for bankruptcy. Chairman Asger Jensby estimated that 90% of the company's turnover had been fictitious.

IT Factory allegedly created contracts for non-existent products with companies that did not exist, and sold the contracts to banks and other investors. Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank, said on Tuesday that IT Factory has debts with it of 350 million Danish krone (NZ$111 million).

Bagger apparently went to some lengths to cover up the unfolding scandal. When questions were asked about the authenticity of a PhD he claimed to have received from a "San Francisco Technical University", Bagger allegedly hired an American actress to pose as a university employee and verify his qualifications for reporters.

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