Fallen Danish IT star says he acted under threat

The Danish IT chief Stein Bagger has said in an interview he was forced at gunpoint to embezzle money from his former employer, IT Factory.

Stein Bagger, the Danish IT executive who allegedly created millions of dollars in fake contracts for his company, has claimed in an interview that he was threatened at gunpoint and acted as he did to protect his family.

Bagger disappeared during a family vacation in Dubai last month and is wanted in Denmark for fraud and other charges following the spectacular collapse of his company, the once high-flying IBM partner IT Factory.

Bagger turned himself in at a Los Angeles police station last Saturday and is being held in jail in Santa Ana, California, awaiting repatriation to Denmark to face charges. He talked to a reporter from a Danish publication who interviewed him during visiting hours Thursday morning.

"I have been threatened on my own and my family's life, and I have been threatened with firearms between 25 and 30 times," Bagger told the reporter, from Denmark's Ekstra Bladet, according to a of the original article in Danish.

He would not say who threatened him but claimed they forced him to embezzle money from IT Factory, according to Mikkel Selin, the reporter who interviewed Bagger. Selin said Bagger told him, "They are people who are very close to me, also physically close to me," suggesting he knows the people well, Selin said.

Press reports in Denmark have linked Bagger to members of a local Hell's Angels gang, who were implicated in an attack on a person said to be an associate of Bagger. They are more pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that Danish authorities now have to put together.

Wearing an orange prison uniform, Bagger wept repeatedly during the interview, apologized to the business associates he let down, and said he cares only for his wife, Anette, and 8-year-old daughter, Olivia.

Asked why he walked out on them in Dubai, he referred ambiguously to "two incidents" that occurred there that convinced him he had to leave. He said he left a note for his wife that read: "I need to get away for a while, watch out for our daughter."

From there he apparently flew to New York, borrowed a sports car and some cash from a business partner, and headed West for Los Angeles. He says he drove for three days in a trance, worried about his family. In Los Angeles he called his older brother, who told him he was wanted by Danish police.

"I am happy that everything is revealed, and now I will cooperate with the police when I get home," he told Ekstra Bladet. "Everything should be on the table. I'm just glad that the nightmare is over."

He admitted to his wrongdoing, according to the report. "I am not a victim in this case," Bagger said. "I am guilty."

Many questions remain about what happened, and the story continues to grip Denmark's population of 4.5 million. Book publishers there have been trying to sign deals with the parties involved, and there are rumors of a Hollywood movie.

The story has also helped validate blogs as a news-reporting medium in Denmark. Dorte Toft, an independent journalist and former Computerworld Denmark reporter, raised some of the initial questions about IT Factory's business through a series of articles in her blog.

Toft was suspicious of Bagger's résumé, and determined that the California university where he claimed to have earned his PhD does not exist. An American woman in Denmark said later that Bagger had hired her to pose as a university administrator on the telephone to verify his degree to reporters.

IT Factory filed for bankruptcy earlier this month not long after Bagger disappeared. Its chairman, Asger Jensby, has estimated that 90 percent of the company's turnover was fictitious.

Bagger was still being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday, a spokeswoman said. The paperwork is being prepared for his return to Denmark "in the very near future," she said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags crime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?