Collar bomb suspect in Ky. to return to Australia

AP News
Posted: Sep 14, 2011 10:56 PM
Collar bomb suspect in Ky. to return to Australia

An Australian investment banker who is wanted on charges of placing a fake bomb around a student's neck in an attempt to extort money from her millionaire father waived extradition Wednesday and will soon be headed to his home country to face charges.

Paul Douglas Peters, dressed in a black-and-white striped prison uniform, appeared in U.S. District Court in Louisville and told judge he would no longer contest being taken back.

"He wants to get to Australia and get these matters addressed and deal with the charges facing him there," his attorney, Thomas Clay, said after the hearing.

Peters, a thin man with graying dark hair, gave U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin simple answers about whether he understood the meaning of the waiver and whether he had read the complaint against him.

"I have sir, indeed," Peters said.

Whalin asked Peters if anyone made threats or promises to ensure the waiver of extradition.

"None whatsoever," Peters responded.

The 50-year-old Peters, who traveled around the world in his work, was arrested at his ex-wife's house near Louisiville last month.

Australian police said in court documents that Peters is accused of breaking into 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver's home in the wealthy Sydney suburb of Mosman on Aug. 3 and tethering the fake bomb to her neck as part of an elaborate extortion plot.

Whalin turned Peters, who is in the Oldham County Jail, over to the U.S. Marshal's Office to await transport by Australian authorities. Clay said his client should return to Australia in about a week.

"The Oldham County Jail is no bed of roses," Clay said. "He wants to get out of there and go back and face the charges."

Before and after the hearing, Peters communicated with his ex-wife, Deborah Lee Peters, who lives in LaGrange, a well-heeled suburb of Louisville. At one point, Peters mouthed to her "Are you OK?" then nodded his head after she signaled a response.

As he left the courtroom, Peters waved behind his back to his ex-wife, who declined to comment.

If Peters had gone through the extradition process, Australian authorities would have been barred from filing additional charges against him. But, because he did, that ban is no longer in place.

Clay said there's no indication that additional charges are pending.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court against Peters alleges he took part in a plot aimed at Pulver. Peters once worked with his family.

Federal prosecutors said Australian authorities traced an email account used in the alleged plot, as well as surveillance video from several stores and airline records to find Peters, an Australian citizen who has lived in the U.S., in Kentucky.

On Aug. 11, a Louisville FBI agent spotted Peters in the backyard of his ex-wife's house, the complaint said.