Australia 'collar bomb' suspect extradited from US

AP News
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Posted: Sep 23, 2011 3:22 AM
Australia 'collar bomb' suspect extradited from US

An Australian investment banker accused of chaining a fake bomb to a teenage girl's neck in a bizarre extortion attempt was being extradited Friday from the U.S. to face a slew of charges at home, police said.

New South Wales police said Australian detectives were flown to the U.S. to assist in the extradition of Paul Douglas Peters, 50, who had been held in a Louisville, Kentucky, jail since his August arrest. Police declined to release details of his travel arrangements, though TV footage showed Peters getting off a plane at a Los Angeles airport.

Peters is accused of attacking 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver, who was studying at her home in a wealthy Sydney suburb on Aug. 3 when a masked man carrying a baseball bat broke into the house and tethered a bomb-like 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.

A police bomb squad spent 10 hours working to remove the device, which was later found to contain no explosives. Pulver was not injured.

Peters, a successful international businessman who travels frequently between the U.S. and Australia, was arrested by the FBI at his ex-wife's house in a Louisville suburb on Aug. 15. Australian police have said they plan to charge him with a range of offenses, including kidnapping.

It's not clear what ties Peters has to the Pulvers, though federal court documents say Peters once worked for a company with links to the family. The Pulvers have repeatedly said that they don't know Peters, and that they have no idea why Madeleine was targeted.

Madeleine Pulver's millionaire father, William Pulver, was once the president and CEO of NetRankings, a pioneer in tracking online exposure and readership for companies advertising on the Internet. He left after the firm was sold to ratings giant Nielsen in 2007. He is now CEO of Appen Butler Hill, a company that provides language and voice-recognition software and services.

New South Wales police have said surveillance footage showed Peters in several locations where they believe he accessed an email account with the address dirkstraun1840(at)gmail.com _ the same address left behind on the note attached to the fake bomb. 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.

U.S. lawyer Scott Cox, who initially represented Peters before he was replaced, has said Peters plans to fight the charges.