herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Banker is charged with kidnap in fake 'collar bomb' case

An investment banker accused of chaining a fake bomb to a teenage girl's neck in a bizarre extortion attempt was today charged with kidnapping and other offences.

Paul Douglas Peters (50) arrived in Sydney after being extradited from the US, where he had been held in a Louisville, Kentucky, jail since his August arrest.

New South Wales police whisked him from Sydney's international airport to a police station and charged him with kidnapping, aggravated breaking and entering, and demanding money with menaces.

Peters is accused of attacking 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver, who was studying at her home in a wealthy Sydney suburb on August 3 when a masked man carrying a baseball bat broke into the house and tethered a bomb-like device to her neck.

The man left behind a note demanding money, along with an email address that appeared to refer to a novel about a ruthless businessman in 19th-century Asia.

A police bomb squad spent 10 hours working to remove the device, which was later found to contain no explosives. Pulver was not injured.

Peters, a successful international businessman who travels frequently between the US and Australia, was arrested by the FBI at his ex-wife's house in a Louisville suburb on August 15.

Peters did not appear during a brief hearing today at western Sydney's Parramatta Bail Court. He has not applied for bail or entered a plea. The judge ordered him to appear in court for another hearing on November 17.

If convicted of all charges, he could face up to 49 years in prison. Peters' lawyers declined to comment outside court.

"I have great admiration for Madeleine Pulver and her family for the way they have dealt with this matter and what has been obviously a very traumatic time of their lives," Police Detective Superintendent Luke Moore told reporters.

It's not clear what ties Peters has to the Pulvers, though federal court documents say Peters once worked for a company with links to the family. The Pulvers have repeatedly said that they don't know Peters, and that they have no idea why Madeleine was targeted.

US lawyer Scott Cox, who initially represented Peters before he was replaced, has said Peters plans to fight the charges.

hnews@herald.ie

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