Monday, September 11, 2006
Kentucky businessman Vernon Jackson, former CEO of telecommunications company iGate Inc., received an 87-month prison term after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy and bribery. According to the criminal information (press release here) filed in the case:
Representative A told Jackson that Representative A would not continue to provide official assistance to Jackson’s company iGate, unless Jackson agreed to pay a nominee company ostensibly maintained in the names of Representative A’s spouse and children. Jackson agreed and signed a consulting services agreement committing iGate to pay the nominee company various things of value in return for Representative A’s performance of official acts in furtherance of iGate’s business in Africa and elsewhere. This includes, but is not limited to monthly payments of $7,500; a percentage of iGate’s gross sales; a percentage of capital investments raised for iGate; options for iGate stock; and payment to a member of Representative A’s family to perform legal work for various iGate business ventures.
"Representative A" has been identified as Louisiana Representative William Jefferson, and this is the second defendant to plead guilty to paying bribes to the Congressman, who denies receiving any corrupt payments. Both defendants have agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation.
In May, the FBI conducted a search of Representative Jefferson's Capitol Hill office, triggering a confrontation between Congress and the Department of Justice over interference in the legislative branch. A District Judge upheld the legality of the search, and the issue is now before the D.C. Circuit, which has ordered prosecutors not to allow any review of the seized documents until after the court renders its decision. Given that the mid-term elections are nearly upon us, it is unlikely the Department of Justice will seek an indictment of the Congressman before the election, to avoid any interference in the process. Once that is past, however, the government may well bring charges. (ph)