Amdi Petersen arrested in the US

Jyllands-Posten/February 18, 2002

Supreme Tvind leader, Mogens Amdi Petersen, has been arrested by police in the United States. This has been confirmed by Holstebro chief of police, Jens Kaasgaard.

- Yes, he has indeed been apprehended. The arrest took place in the early hours of Sunday at a Los Angeles airport where he was in transit between Africa and Mexico. The arrest took place after a request from Holstebro Police, Jens Kaasgard said in an interview with the Ritzau news agency.

The arrest of Mogens Amdi Petersen in Los Angeles at 1:30 AM on Sunday comes almost exactly two months to the date after Holstebro Police secretly had international arrest warrant issued on him.

- We asked to have him arrested because we suspected that he would (not show up in court) if charges were to be brought against him. We have had an international arrest order out on him since December 18th, Kaasgaard said.

He did not wish to go into specific details when asked why the police believed he would try and avoid a court case.

- But we started to suspect (that he wouldn't be showing up at a trial) against him after having read some specific documents, Kaasgaard said.

The idea that Mogens Amdi Petersen would try and avoid a court case in Denmark is nothing new to Holstebro police.

- We have been suspecting this all along. But we had to do wait until now when we feel that we have a good chance of putting him away. Our suspicion has definitely grown lately. The documents we found in the computers (seized from Tvind last year) shows that Amdi indeed is pulling all the strings in Tvind. Jens Kaasgaard did not wish to speak about the specific findings in the documents.

- It is too early, as we haven't talked to the other defendants yet.

Mogens Amdi Petersen was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles at 1.30 AM local time just as he was arriving on a flight from London.

- According to the information we have he was travelling from Africa to Mexico, says Jens Kaasgaard:

It was Ringkøbing city court that approved the international warrant against Mogens Amdi Petersen who has, along with six other Tvind brass, had preliminary charges brought against him for alleged tax abuse and abuse of trust amounting to 75 million DKK in connection with Tvind's humanitarian trust.

Amdi's court-appointed defence lawyer, Jørgen Quade Andersen of Herning appealed the decision to the Western Denmark court of appeals which in turn upheld the city court's decision to put out an international warrant on Amdi Petersen.

- But he has in fact been wanted since December 18th. We are very interested in knowing where he is now that we are beginning the final questioning in the case and we believe that it is of great importance for the investigation that we know where he is and ensure his presence (at the trial), said Jens Kaasgaard.

Holstebro police is asking that Mogens Amdi Petersen be extradited to Denmark.

The extradition request will be made to the American authorities through the Danish ministry of justice. If Mogens Amdi Petersen resists extradition a court case on the matter could according to Jens Kaasgaard, take up to 18 months.

Jens Kaasgaard is confident that the extradition request will go through.

- We believe that we can have him extradited with the evidence we have now. It may take time, but we can do it.

If Mogens Amdi Petersen on the other hand does not resist extradition he could, according to Kaasgaard, "be here in a matter of days".

If Mogens Amdi Petersen chooses to voluntarily be extradited to Denmark he must be brought before a judge within 24 hours. This would then take place at the Ringkøbing courthouse.

Mogens Amdi Petersen's arrest comes after police has been investigating a number of Tvind people including Mogens Amdi Petersen and Tvind CEO, Poul Jørgensen.

The two are, along with five other Tvind members charged with gross abuse of trust and tax abuse amounting to 75 million DKK.

Last April the investigation reached a climax when police raided eight central Tvind locations nation-wide. During the subsequent search police confiscated a number of computers, including one belonging to Mogens Amdi Petersen. Several hundreds of thousands of documents have been found on the computers, including some that according to police prove the alleged misuse of the funds taken from Tvind's humanitarian trust.

Mogens Amdi Petersen and his five co-defendants are under suspicion for having deceived the taxation authorities by using the trust money unlawfully. The contributions to the trust were tax-exempt because they were to be spent on not-for-profit schemes, but the police suspects Amdi Petersen and his people instead used the tax-free millions on Brazilian plantations and a TV project in Oceania.

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