An Australian fugitive wanted on charges of placing a fake bomb around a woman's neck in an attempt to extort money from her millionaire father plans to waive extradition and return to his home country to face charges.
Paul Douglas Peters has an extradition hearing set for Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Louisville. The 50-year-old's attorney confirmed that his client plans to return to Australia, but declined comment on why he dropped the extradition fight. Thomas Clay said he's unsure how long Peters will remain in Kentucky.
"I don't have a clue," he said.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Stephanie Collins said Peters waived formal extradition and will return to Australia as soon as authorities pick him up.
The FBI in August arrested the investment banker who travels frequently between Australia and the U.S. at his ex-wife's house in a well-heeled suburb near Louisville, Ky.
Peters is accused of breaking into 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver's home on Aug. 3 and tethering the device to her as part of an elaborate extortion plot.
Australian authorities have said Pulver was studying at home when a masked man carrying a baseball bat broke in and attached the device to her neck. The man left behind a note demanding money, along with an email address that appeared to refer to a novel about a ruthless businessman in 19th-century Asia.
Bomb specialists spent 10 hours working to remove the device, which was later found to contain no explosives.
Federal court documents say Peters once worked for a company with links to the Pulvers.
The arrest complaint for Peters details allegations that a gray-haired intruder walked in carrying a black aluminum baseball bat and wearing a striped, multicolored balaclava.
Pulver sat on her bed and the intruder placed the bat and a backpack next to her. She noticed he was holding a black box. He forced the box against her throat and looped a device similar to a bike chain around her neck.
The intruder locked the box around her neck and placed a lanyard and a plastic document sleeve around her neck. It contained a handwritten note with demands, the email address and a USB digital storage device.
The note around Pulver's neck said the fake bomb contained "powerful new technology plastic explosives" and was booby trapped. Details for delivering "a Defined Sum" would be sent "once you acknowledge and confirm receipt of this message," it said. The USB device contained the same note.
The email address the attacker left is dirkstraun1840(at)gmail.com. Dirk Struan is the main character in James Clavell's 1966 novel "Tai-Pan," about a bitter rivalry between powerful traders in Hong Kong after the end of the First Opium War.
Australian authorities determined that the email account was established May 30 from an Internet Protocol address linked to a Chicago airport. Travel documents obtained from immigration authorities showed that Peters had been at the airport that day.
The email account was accessed three times on the afternoon of Aug. 3, beginning almost two hours after the hoax device was placed around the teenager's neck, the complaint said. Authorities say they tracked the IP address to a library used to access the email account and video surveillance to spot a man matching Peters' description at a library and a nearby store.
The arrest complaint said Peters left Australia on a one-way flight from Sydney to Chicago on Aug. 8 and then flew to Kentucky the next day. Peters is an Australian citizen who has lived in the U.S., including Kentucky.
On Aug. 11, a Louisville FBI agent spotted Peters in the backyard of his ex-wife's house, the complaint said.