IEPER, Belgium -- In the eyes of the people of Flanders, Jo Lernout could do no wrong.
The former high-school science teacher's ideas about speaking to and through computers had elevated him to rub elbows with Belgium's royals and Bill Gates, and his starstruck neighbors couldn't pump their money into his futuristic vision fast enough.
That was then. Now these same fevered investors are sick -- they fear they've been left holding the bag in the wake of Lernout & Hauspie's spectacular collapse amid charges of financial misdeeds.
BC-L&H-A Cautionary Tale. 1,200 words. Moving Wednesday on financial wires as f7000 for release weekend editions, Dec. 30-31.
By Raf Casert.
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