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Lobbyist with ties to DeLay indicted for fraud

[JURIST] Lobbyist Jack Abramoff [Wikipedia profile], once a close friend of US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [official website], was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on bank fraud charges. The charges are related to a 2000 purchase by Abramoff and his partners of SunCruz Casinos [corporate website] and an alleged phony wire transfer that defrauded two lenders financing the acquisition of $60 million. Read the US DOJ press release on the indictment. DeLay, who was not mentioned in any lawsuits involving the SunCruz deal, has asked the House Ethics Committee [official website] to examine separate allegations that Abramoff or his associates covered the costs of DeLay's foreign trips, contrary to House rules. DeLay has denied knowing that the expenses were paid by Abramoff. The Republican congressman from Texas also made headlines Thursday when a Federal Election Commission audit of a fundraising committee he founded [PDF] showed that the committee failed to report more than $300,000 in debts [AP report] and improperly financed its activities with funds from another group tied to Delay. AP has more.

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