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deadparrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:23 PM
Original message
State Dept. official faces bribe charge
WASHINGTON - A State Department official accepted free flights to Las Vegas with exotic dancers, expensive meals, hotel rooms in New York and other bribes to speed up the visa process for a jewelry company, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Michael John O'Keefe, the deputy nonimmigrant visa chief at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, was indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges Friday. Sunil Agrawal, the chief executive of New York-based STS Jewels, was also charged.

Agrawal sent O'Keefe the names of employees who needed visas to work for her company, prosecutors said, and O'Keefe scheduled them outside the normal visa process.

O'Keefe did his best to make sure he conducted the interviews and awarded 21 visas to STS employees, according to an indictment unsealed .

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060825/ap_on_re_us/visa_br...
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. I wonder if any of those visa grantees might be, you know . . .
Less than desireable presences in our country? Of course, a little bribery, a few hookers and a little graft to the right underofficial, and hey presto! all of Ms. Agrawal's employees are legal as sea salt.
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Sal316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
2. Whoops! Answered my own question
Edited on Fri Aug-25-06 04:28 PM by Sal316
<deleted>
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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 01:52 AM
Response to Original message
3. U.S. diplomat charged with taking bribes for visas (Reuters)
(22 year State Dept Veteran... Hummm, that would be a Reagan appointee.)

U.S. diplomat charged with taking bribes for visas


Fri Aug 25, 2006 05:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. diplomat was charged on Friday with accepting trips with exotic dancers, jewelry and entertainment in exchange for issuing visas to 21 people linked to an international jewel distributor. U.S. Foreign Service officer Michael O'Keefe, 59, and international jeweler Sunil Agrawal were indicted by a grand jury in Washington on three counts of conspiracy and bribery.

O'Keefe, a 22-year State Department veteran who was working at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto as the deputy non-immigrant visa chief, was arrested on Thursday in Washington, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Agrawal remains at large.

The indictment said between 2004 and 2006 Agrawal gave round-trip airline tickets to O'Keefe and two exotic dancers to travel to New York and Las Vegas. Agrawal paid for hotels, expensive meals and entertainment during the trips.

Agrawal also gave O'Keefe jewelry, other gifts and a job reference, the indictment said. In exchange, O'Keefe helped expedite visa requests for employees of Agrawal's company, STS Jewels Inc. He issued visas to 21 people sponsored by Agrawal.

(more at link) <http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNe... >
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DemFromMem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Lap dances for visas?
Consular officers have the power of God when it comes to issuing visas (I'm an immigration lawyer and see this day in, day out). Their decisions cannot be appealed and they hold people's lives in their hands. They frequently make the most unbelievably cruel statements and often won't even look at the documentation presented to them in the 1 to 3 minutes they spend reviewing the typical person who waits in line hours at a consulate for an interview. So is it really a surprise that these officials are frequently caught up in bribery and corruption scanals. The situation at Citizenship and Immigration Services (the old INS) is even worse.
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