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Archive for Sunday, May 28, 2006

FBI probing eight suspected bribery schemes in Jefferson investigation

May 28, 2006

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— The FBI is focusing on at least eight different suspected bribery schemes as part of its corruption probe of embattled Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., according to a federal affidavit and sources familiar with the investigation.

A key part of the FBI probe has centered around Jefferson's dealings with a Louisville high-tech company, iGate Inc., that was marketing broadband technology for the Internet and cable television in Africa.

But an affidavit used in last weekend's controversial search of Jefferson's Capitol Hill office stated authorities are looking at "at least seven other" bribery schemes in which Jefferson "sought things of value in return for his performance of official acts."

Some of those schemes might be beyond the statute of limitations but could help show a pattern, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The records and materials seized during the FBI raid could shed more light on these areas, according to the affidavit.

Federal authorities have alleged in court documents that Jefferson took more than $500,000 in bribes in exchange for using his official position to promote iGate's technology in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. The FBI said it videotaped Jefferson taking a $100,000 payoff on July 30, 2005.

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