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Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, the fugitive former chief executive of Comverse, the voicemail sofware company, was released on bail on Tuesday by a Namibian court pending the outcome of a US extradition request.

Mr Alexander, an Israeli citizen and permanent US resident, was branded a fugitive from justice this summer by the FBI after he failed to surrender to authorities to face charges of securities fraud in connection with an alleged options-backdating scheme.

He later surfaced in Namibia, where he was arrested last month following an international manhunt that ran from Israel to Sri Lanka.

Mr Alexander could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on charges of securities fraud, money laundering, and other offences. He and two other Comverse executives are alleged to have reaped millions by manipulating the grant dates of stock options.

Options granting practices at more than 100 companies across the US have fallen under investigation by state and federal authorities since March in one of the technology sector’s biggest scandals since the dotcom bubble burst.

US authorities say executives at a number of companies may have inappropriately inflated the value of stock options by misleading stockholders and regulators about their true grant dates.

On Monday, a US legal attache told the court Mr Alexander had offered to pay another Comverse executive millions of dollars to take the blame for the company’s options-backdating scandal.

US authorities claim that Mr Alexander wired $57m of his fortune to an Israeli bank account before he left the US. Mr Alexander told a magistrate earlier this week that he had deposited a portion of that sum in Namibia, where he was granted a two-year work permit on condition that he invest N$300m ($38m) in the former German colony.

Namibia, which has no formal extradition treaty with the US, changed its extradition laws last month to allow for the return of fugitives to the US.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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