AN Australian fugitive accused of placing a fake bomb around teenager Madeline Pulver’s neck in a bid to extort money from her millionaire father plans to waive extradition and return from the US to face charges.
Paul Peters, 50, has an extradition hearing set in Louisville, Kentucky. His lawyer, Thomas Clay, said his client planned to return to Australia, but declined to comment on why he dropped the extradition fight.
US Attorney's Office spokeswoman Stephanie Collins said Peters waived formal extradition and would return to Australia as soon as authorities picked him up.
The FBI arrested the investment banker, who travels frequently between Australia and the US, at his ex-wife's house in a well-heeled suburb near Louisville in August. Peters is accused of breaking into 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver's home on August 3 and tethering the device to her as part of an elaborate extortion plot.
Australian authorities said Miss 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.
US court documents say Peters once worked for a company with links to the Pulvers.
The arrest complaint for Peters describes allegations that a grey-haired intruder walked in carrying a black aluminium baseball bat and wearing a striped, multi-coloured balaclava.
Miss 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 arrest complaint said Peters left Australia on a one-way flight from Sydney to Chicago on August 8 and then flew to Kentucky the next day. Peters is an Australian citizen who has lived in the US, including Kentucky. On August 11, a Louisville FBI agent spotted Peters in the back garden of his ex-wife's house, the complaint said.