By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor said on Saturday that he was in Europe, following a newspaper report alleging he had fled the United States to avoid paying millions of dollars to his ex-wife.
"I can't talk about it," Arbor told Reuters about the accusations when reached on his cell phone. Asked where he was, he said: "I'm in Europe. I'm an Italian citizen."
A judge in Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, issued the civil-court equivalent of an arrest warrant for Arbor on Tuesday, said Cara Smith, chief of policy for the Cook County Sheriff's Office. She said she did not know whether the warrant had been filed with the sheriff's office, which enables law enforcement officers to take Arbor into custody.
Smith did not have details on why the judge issued the warrant.
It calls for Arbor, who turns 77 on Friday, to be jailed until he pays $288,983 to his ex-wife Antoinette Vigilante, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Arbor has repeatedly ignored judge's orders in his divorce case, the newspaper reported on Saturday. He has been ordered to pay Vigilante, 56, more than $18 million and is thought to have moved to Italy or Switzerland to avoid paying the judgment, according to the report.
Arbor also is wanted by law enforcement under a criminal arrest warrant issued on April 10 in a child support case, Smith said. His bail was set at $24,887, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office website.
"A criminal child support warrant was issued," Smith said. "Any law enforcement agency can look for him."
County court records show that Vigilante filed for a divorce from Arbor last year and that a final judgment was entered on Tuesday. Vigilante could not be reached for comment.
Arbor was chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, now owned by CME Group Inc, from 1993 to 1999.
A fixture on Chicago's business and civic scenes, he is a principal at the trading firm Shatkin Arbor and listed as trustee at Loyola University of Chicago. In 2010, Arbor threw his hat into the ring to become lieutenant governor of Illinois, writing in an application to the state's Democratic party: "Of course, my record is impeccable and I have a good reputation."
(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by James Dalgleish)