Legal details keep Danish fugitive in United States for now

Associated Press/August 22, 2002

Los Angeles -- A Danish man arrested in February for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars through a humanitarian foundation will remain in the United States while legal paperwork is finished.

Mogens Amdi Petersen, 63, agreed to extradition because he wanted to face his critics in Denmark and because of ongoing health problems, said Petersen's attorney, Robert Shapiro.

But Shapiro said Petersen must wait for a U.S. State Department "warrant of surrender" to be issued before the extradition can go forward. He did not know how long that would be.

Danish authorities accuse Petersen of funneling dlrs 10 million from a nonprofit humanitarian and environment foundation he controlled into his for-profit company.

Petersen founded the Tvind organization in 1970 in Denmark, but then disappeared amid allegations of fraud in 1979. He allegedly embezzled millions from the Foundation for the Support of Humanitarian Purposes, the Promotion of Research and the Protection of the Natural Environment.

Tvind was designed to train teachers and students to administer humanitarian programs in southern Africa. But former members of the organization in Denmark describe it as a cult, saying members were asked to surrender their assets and that their money went to supporting Petersen's lavish lifestyle.

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