I believe the options backdating scandal will be the big corporate scandal of this year. It has all the earmarks necessary to get a lot of press coverage: greed, lies, and application to a surprisingly large number of companies. Yesterday, it got another missing element: its very own fugitive from justice.
On August 10th, the Wall Street Journal reported that Comverse had been charged by the Feds. Today's Journal now tells us that Comverse Technologies' (NASDAQ:CMVT) CEO, Kobi Alexander has (as the Aussies say) "gone walkabout." As the WSJ reports (sub. req.):
Comverse Technology Inc.'s former chief executive is regarded as a fugitive by the U.S. government, which last week charged him with conspiracy related to backdated stock options, his attorney said.
Robert Morvillo, a high-profile criminal-defense lawyer who is representing Kobi Alexander, Comverse's former CEO, said he last spoke to his client about two weeks ago. At that point, Mr. Morvillo said, Mr. Alexander was in Israel. He said he has no idea of his client's whereabouts.
During the last two weeks of July, the federal government charges, Mr. Alexander transferred more than $57 million from the U.S. to accounts in Israel "to conceal the funds from U.S. authorities."
Let's see: Alexander has dual citizenship (US and Israeli), recently moved $57 million out of the country, and is under indictment by the Feds. I'd like to see a Tradesports contract based on his coming back to the US. Anybody care to put a price on the contract?
Ah, it's a good time to be a business-school professor (or a blogger).
CMVT 1-yr chart: