Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stevens indicted for corruption in Veco case

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), the longest-serving Republican senator in United States history according to The New York Times, was indicted earlier today on federal charges for failing to report gifts and income.

The 84-year-old Stevens was indicted on seven felony counts related to renovations on his home in Alaska. The charges arise from a wide-ranging, four-year-long corruption inquiry involving public officials and corporations in his home state. The indictment accuses Stevens of failing to disclose that he received gifts of more than $250,000— in labor and construction materials— from Veco Corporation, a multinational oil services company based in Anchorage, Alaska, between 2001 and 2006.

Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general, said that at the same time Veco Corporation did architectural and construction work on Stevens' home, the corporation sought assistance on business-related matters. However, Friedrich said the indictment does not allege any quid pro quo, but added that Stevens did not reimburse Veco Corporation for any of the work done at his house.

Federal agents raided Stevens' home last year following questions about renovations at the home. A few months before that, in May 2007, Veco CEO Bill J. Allen admitted to bribery, and in court papers acknowledged making $243,000 in possibly illegal payments to a state lawmaker identified only as "Senator B," according to The New York Times. That abbreviation referred to Stevens' son, Ben Stevens.

Ted Stevens, who is running for re-election this year, was first appointed to the Senate in 1968 and has served nearly fix full terms. He also had been a United States Attorney in the 1950s.

According to The New York Times, federal officials said they did not know whether Stevens would surrender to authorities in Washington, D.C. or in Alaska for an arraignment.

For an exhaustive breakdown of who has been charged and/or convicted in the investigation, check out The Anchorage Daily News web site. Here's a link to the 28-page indictment.


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