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Tag: Corruption

FBI Investigates Japanese Bankers’ Big Pay-Off

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
Who knew an advisory roll could pay out so well? 

Hajime Sagawa and Akio Nakagawa, two Japanese bankers, spent their career moving from firm to firm on Wall Street, reports the New York Times. Then, when advising the Japanese company Olympus–largely successful in medical equipment but better known as a camera maker–on their takeover of a British company, the two bankers were paid $687 million.

“But the fee amount was more than 30 times the norm on Wall Street,” reports the Times. And now the FBI is investigating.

“This is about following the money,” Jonathan R. Macey, a professor of corporate law and governance at Yale, told the Times. “It’s very unusual and raises a classic red flag, pointing to either a waste of company assets or corruption.”

The payment went in part to “a tiny, unknown firm,” says the Times, run by the two bankers, and the rest to a Caymen Islands company with ties to one of the two men. Both firms closed up shop shortly after the payments were made.

The focus of the investigation is not yet clear, and spokespeople for the FBI declined the Times requests for comment.

To read more click here.

Three TSA Officers and 2 Cops Accused of Taking Bribes in Oxycodone Drug Ring

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Three TSA officers along with a Connecticut county cop and Florida state trooper were indicted in Connecticut Monday on charges of taking bribes to let powerful narcotics travel freely across the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The five were among 18 indicted in the drug conspiracy that involved the mass distribution of  oxycodone, authorities describe as a strong,  highly-addictive prescription narcotic.

“The facts of this case are troubling for two principal reasons,” U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said in a statement. “First, we allege that this organization was responsible for the transportation of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills, which, when abused, are dangerous narcotics that destroy individuals, families, and communities. Second, we allege that three officers of the Transportation Security Administration and two law enforcement officers accepted bribes in exchange for permitting the illegal drugs and the cash proceeds of the illegal drug trafficking to travel safely, undeterred by airport security or law enforcement.”

The bust was part of “Operation Blue Coast,” an investigation of the local DEA initiative in Bridgeport, Conn.: the Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

The investigation began in April of this year. The DEA task force received information that someone with a large amount of oxycodone was going from Palm Beach, Fla., to Stamford, Conn., to sell thousands of the pills.

That individual was arrested on April 8 in possession of approximately 6,000 oxycodone pills in Stamford.

The suspected drug trafficker  told agents that over the course of about a year he had regularly purchased the drug from suppliers in Florida, flown or driven it to Connecticut several times a week, carrying up to 8,000 pills per trip, and then sold it to Connecticut traffickers. Airline records confirmed he had traveled from Florida to New York at least 65 times between November of last year and April of this year.  From New York he paid drivers to take him to and from drug deals in Connecticut.

But here’s where law enforcement officials come in: according to the press release,

“The arrested individual also explained that, to ensure the success of the operation, he provided cash and gift cards to Christopher Allen and John Best, TSA officers who screened passengers and luggage at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Brigitte Jones, a TSA officer who screened passengers and luggage at Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, N.Y. …

He also said he made several payments, totaling more than $20,000, to Michael Brady, a Westchester County Police officer, in order to ensure that he could carry large quantities of cash, the proceeds of his drug trafficking, through airport security at HPN.  The individual further explained that he provided cash to Justin Kolves, a Florida State Trooper, and gave checks to Jessica Douglas, Kolves’ fiancée, in exchange for Kolves’ assurance that individuals who transported narcotics or currency on behalf of the individual would not be detained by law enforcement while driving through Central Florida.”

“The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners have no tolerance for corruption in these ranks,” said U.S. Attorney Fein.

Ex-ATF Agent Testifies in Tulsa About His Corrupt Ways

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former ATF agent, who is awaiting sentencing on corruption charges, testified Thursday in a federal corruption trial that he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers, the Tulsa World reported.

Brandon McFadden, 34, testified as a government witness about his criminal activity along with Officers Jeff Henderson, Officers Frank Khalil and Sean Larkin, the Tulsa World reported. He also testified that Henderson made up information to obtain search warrants.

McFadden was arrested in April 2010 and started working with federal investigators, he testified, the paper reported. He pleaded guilty to drug distribution and is awaiting sentencing.

“I knew what I had done and been involved with, with the Tulsa Police Department, and knew the investigation was bigger than Brandon McFadden,” he testified, according to the paper.

“The indictment saved my life. I could sit back and tell my story and be openly blunt about it and tell the citizens of Tulsa. I’ve made mistakes in Tulsa, and I take full responsibility.”

To read more click here.

FBI Says Corrupt U.S. Border Agents a Serious Threat

FBI Arrests Az. Border Town Mayor in Arizona on Corruption Charges

Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel

Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents on Tuesday arrested the mayor of the border town of Nogales, Az., on public corruption charges including bribery, theft, fraud and money laundering, authorities said.

Mayor Garcia Von Borstel, a Democrat, was arrested at his city hall office in the morning and search warrants were executed at his home, business and government office, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said.

“Today’s arrest of Mayor Van Borstel has been a collaborative effort with the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office,” Nathan T. Gray, head of the FBI’s Phoenix office said in a statement. “When a public official allegedly commits criminal acts it erodes the public’s trust. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are determined to address public corruption at all levels of government.”

The case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office in state court.

Read more »

Breaking News: Jurors in Blago Case Say They’ve Only Reached Agreement on 2 of 24 Counts

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

Update: Thurs. 6:10 p.m.– The Chicago Tribune reports that the jurors are done for the day and will return Monday.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Jurors in the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have come to an agreement on two of 24 counts, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The judge instructed them to continue deliberating.

The jurors indicated they had not even discussed 11 counts of wire fraud, and were deadlocked on another 11, the AP reported.

Blagojevich and his brother Robert are both on trial.

Breaking News: Jury in Blago Case Says it’s Hung

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The federal jury in the public corruption case of Ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has told the judge its is deadlocked on all counts, according to the Chicago News Cooperative.

The Associated Press reported that they appeared to be hung on just some counts.

The jurors sent a note to the judge asking for guidance. The judge said he needed more clarification, the news cooperative reported. The judge summarized the content of the note in open court around 4:15, Chicago time.

“In a situation where jurors can’t agree on given counts, what should the next logical step be?” the jurors asked, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’ve gone beyond reasonable attempts without rancor.”

The jury has been deliberating for 11 days. Blagojevich was indicted on 24 counts including allegations that he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

Justice’s OPR Clears FBI Agent and Ex-Acting U.S. Attorney of Wrongdoing in N.J. Press Conference

Dun Weysan/fbi photo

Weysan Dun/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has cleared New Jersey’s ex-acting U.S. Attorney and the former head of the Newark FBI of wrongdoing related to statements they made in 2009 at a press conference regarding a major public corruption indictment of more than 40 people, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The Justice Department concluded that ex-acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra and  Weysan Dun, who headed the FBI’s New Jersey office at the time, but now heads up the Omaha Division, acted properly, the Star-Ledger reported.

The Justice Department had been looking into allegations that the men stepped over the line when they made comments about the probe. Some accused them of making inflammatory comments to help boost ex-U.S. Attorney Chris Christe’s chances in his run for New Jersey governor, the Star-Ledger reported.  Christie won.

“The politicians willingly put themselves up for sale. For these defendants, corruption was a way of life. They existed in an ethics-free zone,” Mara said at the press conference, according to the paper.

The FBI’s Dun, remarked: “This case is not about politics. It is certainly not about religion. It is about arrogance and it is about a shocking betrayal of the public trust.”

The paper reported that a letter issued last week from the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility said:

“Based upon the results of our investigation, we concluded that you did not violate any professional obligation and thus did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment in this matter,” wrote Mary Patrice Brown, acting counsel for the office.

The paper reported that Justice Department guidelines say a prosecutor “shall refrain from making extrajudicial comments that pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”

To read more click here.