Team Saxo Bank-IT Factory sponsor declares bankruptcy

IT Factory director apparently embezzled US$85 million

The newly announced co-sponsor of Bjarne Riis' Danish ProTour Team, IT Factory, announced it will file for bankruptcy. Interpol is seeking the company’s director, Stein Bagger, for economic fraud of up to 500 million kroner (€67 million/US$85 million) after he disappeared following a trip in Dubai, according to a Danish television station.

"We do not intend to give up. We have just held a meeting with Saxo Bank, and we agree that we must get out and find a new sponsor," team owner Riis said to feltet.dk. "The riders and staff know that we will not shut down. There is a guarantee that the cycling team will continue."

Riis announced in September that IT Factory would be the team's new co-sponsor alongside Saxo Bank as of the 2009 season. The contract, for three years, was said to be for about 40 million kroner (€5.37 million/US$6.8 million).

Saxo Bank is reportedly uninterested in being the team's sole sponsor.

The company's chairman and co-owner Asger Jensby confirmed the bankruptcy to the Danish news agency Ritzau. Bagger's wife contacted Jensby when her husband disappeared after the trip to Dubai, according to Feltet.dk. Jensby then checked the company's accounts, and the results drove him to file the bankruptcy Monday morning.

The team held its presentation, as planned, Monday morning.

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