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FBI taped senator's calls with oilman

September 21, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The FBI, working with an Alaska oil contractor, secretly taped telephone calls with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) as part of a public corruption sting, according to people close to the investigation.

The secret recordings suggest the Justice Department was eyeing Stevens before June, when he first publicly acknowledged he was under scrutiny.

At that time, Stevens appeared to be a new focus in a case that had ensnared several state lawmakers.

The recorded calls between Stevens and businessman Bill Allen were confirmed by two people close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still underway.

Allen, a wealthy businessman and Stevens' political patron, reportedly agreed to the taping last year after authorities confronted him with evidence he had bribed Alaska lawmakers.

Allen pleaded guilty to bribery and is a key witness against Alaska legislators.

He told prosecutors he paid his employees to renovate the senator's house.

Stevens has denied any wrongdoing.

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