Tvind boss again on the run

Copenhagen Post/October 24, 2006

The leader and four other members of the Tvind humanitarian organisation have disappeared prior to a new fraud trial

Police are again looking for the leaders of the Tvind Humanitarian Fund. They fear the group - which is facing a new embezzlement trial - may have fled the country.

Police are attempting to serve writs on the five members, four of whom were found innocent of tax evasion and embezzlement by a district court last month. Prosecutors appealed that decision and believe they have enough additional evidence for a conviction.

An international alert for the five has been issued, but the public prosecutor would not confirm whether foreign authorities have been authorised to detain them.

The police have succeeded in serving writs on one Tvind member, spokesman Poul Jørgensen, who was still at his residence in Jutland. The one member found guilty earlier this year, Sten Byrner, was given a suspended sentence and is now among the missing.

Tvind Humanitarian Fund was set up in 1977 by Mogens Amdi Petersen, now 67, as a worldwide charitable aid organisation that later included affiliates such as Humana People to People and Planet Aid.

The disappearing act is not the first for Petersen. Danish officials were unaware of his whereabouts from 1979 to 2001, when he was found living a life of luxury in Florida.

Petersen and seven other Tvind officials came under investigation in 2000, when a former teacher at one of its schools alleged the group had misused the organisation's tax-exempt status to embezzle DKK 70 million.

The group was officially charged in 2002 for defrauding the Tvind organisation of $75 million.

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