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Plane crash in Panama takes life of successful Pacificor CEO

Plane crash in Panama takes life of successful Pacificor CEO

Michael Klein, the CEO of hedge fund manager Pacificor LLC, was killed in a plane crash in Panama over the weekend, cutting short a successful career that included a $450 million (euro312.5 million) deal with Yahoo Inc.
Klein was CEO of eGroups Inc., the world's largest group e-mail communication service, when it was sold to Yahoo at the peak of the dot-com boom.
"Michael lived an inspired life," said Seal Potts, a friend and business associate. "We know what a successful businessman he was, but when you think of a businessman in a power suit, you just don't get a picture of Michael Klein."
Klein, 37, who favored bow ties and was known for his generosity, seemingly had a golden touch when it came to growing businesses. He founded two technology companies in the 1990s.
One was Transoft Networks, a leading supplier of storage area networking software, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard Co. in 1999.
His involvement with Pacificor started in 1999 when he became its largest investor, the company Web site states. He became CEO in 2001 and acquired the firm in 2002.
Pacificor targets institutional and wealthy private investors who must ante up a minimum of $1 million (euro690,000).
On Tuesday, rescuers found Klein and two other victims in the wreckage of a Cessna 172 high on the jungle-laden flanks of the Baru volcano, about 270 miles (434.5 kilometers) west of Panama City.
Aviation authorities said the cause of the crash was not yet known, but RPC radio reported that witnesses saw the plane flying at a very low altitude around noon Sunday amid buffeting winds.
Also killed were Talia Klein, 13, the daughter of Michael Klein, and Edwin Lasso, 23, the pilot.
The lone survivor was family friend Francesca Lewis, 12, who apparently suffered a broken arm and hypothermia, her mother, Valerie Lewis, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Boquete, a resort village miles away from the crash site.
Klein was on vacation with the two girls at an eco-resort he owns in the Central American nation.
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Associated Press Writer Arnulfo Franco in Boquete, Panama, contributed to this story.