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FBI Queried Newmont on Phone Card

October 07, 1987|W. K. KNOEDELSEDER Jr. | Times Staff Writer

Federal investigators have questioned executives of New York-based Newmont Mining Corp. about a telephone credit card registered to the firm that was used during 1985 by a reputed member of a New York organized crime family, The Times has learned.

Newmont is the nation's largest gold producer and holds the largest reported gold reserves in North America. The company is fighting a takeover bid by famed corporate raider T. Boone Pickens Jr., whose Ivanhoe Partners recently offered $105 a share, or nearly $6 billion, for the 90% of Newmont stock that it doesn't already own.

According to court documents obtained by The Times, Vincent (the Chin) Gigante, the reputed underboss of the Genovese crime family, "uses a telephone credit card that's assigned to the Newmont Mining Corp. at 200 Park Avenue."

Probe Inconclusive

The reference to Newmont is contained in a 1985 sworn FBI affidavit requesting continued wiretap surveillance of a number of alleged Genovese family members who were being investigated by an FBI-New York Police task force. The affidavit is part of a court case involving the alleged extortion of a Philadelphia budget record distributor by a group of reputed East Coast organized crime figures.

An FBI spokesman in New York confirmed that agents had questioned Newmont executives and "interviewed the person to whom the card was assigned. But it turned out to be inconclusive," he said. "I have no information for you about how this card got to be used--it was never resolved."

Calls to the office of Newmont Chairman Gordon R. Parker were referred to Jim Hill, the company's head of public relations. Hill failed to return numerous calls from a Times reporter.

A spokesman from Newmont's legal department, who asked not to be named, said that "with T. Boone Pickens on our doorstep, we can't be worried about a story that sounds to me like a lost or stolen credit card. The legal department here is not aware of any situation" with the FBI.

The FBI spokesman said it was "never determined" if the Newmont credit card had been reported lost or stolen.

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