Friday, October 13, 2006

Top Adviser to Illinois Governor Indicted

A long-time fundraiser and adviser to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, was indicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office on extortion and bank fraud charges.  The indictment comes only a few weeks before the general election in which Governor Blagojevich is running for reelection, and marks another blow to the Illinois Governor's office after the earlier conviction of Blagojevich's predecessor, George Ryan.  The charges come in two separate indictments (here and here), and a press release (here) states, "One indictment alleges that Rezko participated with Chicago businessman Stuart Levine in a scheme to obtain millions of dollars by shaking down firms doing business before two Illinois regulatory boards on which Levine served. The second indictment alleges that Rezko fraudulently obtained more than $10 million in loans for a pizza restaurant business from General Electric Capital Corp. (GECC) and also defrauded investors in that business."  Rezko has been traveling out of the country for the past few weeks, and a Chicago Tribune story (here) notes that there is some concern whether he will return for his arraignment, although his attorney states that he's trying to notify Rezko of the charges. (ph)

Corruption, Prosecutions | Permalink

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