Indictment Against Trie Outlines Fraud, Obstruction
Associate of Trie also charged; investigators unable to locate either man
By Terry Frieden/CNN
WASHINGTON (Jan. 29) -- The Justice Department on Thursday formally announced that controversial Democratic fund-raiser Charlie Trie has been indicted on 14 counts relating to his fund-raising activities.
Attorney General Janet Reno announced this first indictment produced by her campaign-finance task force a day after the grand jury action leaked to the press.
The 37-page indictment outlines charges against Trie that include obstruction of justice based on allegations that he instructed an employee to destroy documents subpoenaed by both the Senate committee investigating the scandal, and by a grand jury.
The Justice Department disclosed that a Trie associate, Yuan Pei "Antonio" Pan, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of obstruction.
The Justice Department had intended to keep the indictment sealed because investigators are still unable to locate either man. Federal arrest warrants have been issued for both men, but they are believed to be in China. Officials say the U.S. is seeking to extradite them.
Reno called the indictments "an important step forward in addressing campaign finance abuses associated with the 1996 election."
The indictments charge Trie and Pan arranged a series of "straw" contributions to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in which money contributed in the name of others was secretly reimbursed in cash by Trie and Pan.
Trie, 49, was known to be a focus of the Justice task force since his alleged illegal fund-raising practices became public and the DNC was forced to return his contributions.
Trie, a longtime friend of President Bill Clinton, raised a combined $1.2 million for the DNC and Clinton's legal defense fund, money which both entities later returned because of its questionable source.
The indictments released by the Justice Department also detail allegations of wire fraud, mail fraud, filing false reports and conspiracy to impede the Federal Election Commission.