WASHINGTON (AP) _ Political extremist Lyndon LaRouche, who has stayed outside the country for three months as dozens of his followers face fraud and other charges, is in Europe and intends to return, his lawyer said Monday.

Attorney Odin Anderson said LaRouche is ''engaged in political discussions with political figures in Europe'' and that he was unable to say when LaRouche would return.

''His intentions are to return voluntarily as soon as he completes his mission that has taken him out of the country,'' Anderson said in a telephone interview from Boston.

In a letter to The Associated Press received Monday, LaRouche himself said that he has been attending meetings in Rome and Paris and ''have passed very briefly through Wiesbaden,'' West Germany.

''I expect that my personal situation inside the U.S. will improve rapidly, as more and more among my leading adversaries either depart from positions in government or face imprisonment for their offenses,'' LaRouche wrote.

LaRouche is a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and has been a fringe candidate in three previous elections. He espouses eccentric theories of world conspiracies and has accused prominent Americans of dealing in drugs or other crimes.

His spokeswoman, Dana Scanlon, said the letter was dictated by LaRouche from West Germany.

It was in response to an AP story last week reporting that law enforcement sources close to investigations into the LaRouche organization have concluded LaRouche probably would not return to the country voluntarily. The story also cited an internal document describing financial troubles facing the LaRouche organization.

LaRouche has acknowledged not filing income tax returns in more than 10 years. He is himself the object of a tax investigation, according to court documents and to sources who spoke only condition of anonymity.

In his letter, LaRouche said, ''As for legal problems, it continues to be my best information that all rumored legal action against me is wildly conjectural, or would be frivolous in nature.''

Anderson said one factor prolonging LaRouche's absence is a battle in state courts over efforts by the prosecutor in Loudoun County, Va., where LaRouche lives, to revoke concealed-weapons permits held by LaRouche bodyguards.

LaRouche, apparently referring to that dispute, wrote that ''the continued effort at stripping my personal security is an impediment to my travels inside the U.S. ....'' He added that his associates in Paris have been the target of a ''terrorist bombing'' and that, ''Europe is scarcely a refuge for me.''

Anderson said LaRouche is upset by suggestions he was staying away while his followers were left behind to face charges.

Asked if he didn't consider it unsual for a presidential candidate to remain out of his country for so long, Anderson said: ''It's a 1988 election. It's a long way away. ... He's got his own campaign style, for better or worse.''

Thirteen LaRouche followers, including some top associates, face fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice charges in Boston. Grand juries in New York and Virginia have issued indictments on fraud and other charges naming 31 people.