Former L&H chief faces fraud charges

Gaston Bastiaens, 54, was sunbathing in the garden of his Massachusetts home on Sunday when the authorities arrested him.

Bastiaens is accused of involvement in alleged fraud schemes which saw the disappearance of $10bn of shareholders’ money, and the imprisonment of company founders Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie.

He is set to appear in court today, specifically to be charged with insider dealing, stock market manipulation, swindling and breaking book keeping laws. The warrant against him was issued at the request of the Belgian authorities, which are likely to apply for his extradition.

Bastiaens was forced to resign last November after L&H filed for bankruptcy protection in Belgium and the US. Shares in the company have been suspended from trading on Easdaq, and the Nasdaq has delisted the firm.

However, new chief executive Philippe Bodson is planning to transfer the business to another company under new investors, and offer creditors the option of taking shares in lieu of debts.

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