Accused Hedge Fund Fraudster Homm Freed

Jun 5 2014 | 11:07am ET

Florian Homm has been shot and spent five years on the run. But the Absolute Capital Management founder’s latest escape may be his greatest.

Facing criminal fraud charges in the U.S., Homm was arrested in Italy last year on allegations that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. His prospects looked grim in January, when he lost his second-to-last bid to avoid extradition.

But when Italy’s highest court rejected his appeal, the clock started ticking for the U.S., which then had 45 days to secure the extradition. The court ruled Tuesday that Homm had been held in jail longer than allowed and set him free.

Homm left the Pisa jail shortly thereafter and quickly returned to Germany, which does not extradite its own citizens. He was apparently released without Italy giving advance notice to the U.S.

Homm was arrested in Florence in March 2013, six months after he emerged from hiding to release a memoir. He disappeared after abruptly resigning from ACM in 2007, returning to Europe in 2012.

The financier said he went on the run to hide from unidentified enemies, whom he accuses of shooting him in Colombia in 2006. U.S. prosecutors suggest it was because he defrauded investors of US$200 million, allegedly cross-trading penny shares between ACM funds to artificially boost their value before dumping his own shares.

Homm has denied the allegations.

“We are gratified by the court’s ruling and delighted that Florian’s 14-month nightmare has come to an end,” his lawyer, Jan Handzlik, told The New York Times.

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