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UK law firm implicated in Abramoff probe

[JURIST] A British law firm has been linked to the ongoing investigation into the illegal activities of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive]. A former partner at London-based James & Sarch, now defunct, allegedly channeled $1 million from Russian oil executives to the public advocacy group US Family Network [Washington Post report], also now defunct, largely funded by Abramoff-associated groups. The payment, made in a single check, was the largest payment recorded on the Network's books. According to the former president of the fund, the executives contributed money in 1998 to influence Republican Congressman Tom DeLay's vote on legislation that would bail out the then-collapsing Russian economy. DeLay and Abramoff met with the Russian executives before and after the payment, but DeLay has insisted that he took decisions on appropriate grounds. Abramoff pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud charges last week, and has negotiated a plea agreement [PDF] with federal prosecutors to reduce his punishment in exchange for favorable testimony in future corruption case against members of Congress. From London, the Telegraph has more.

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