Top Veco Execs Plead Guilty To Bribery

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The Anchorage Daily News reports that top Veco Corp. executives pled guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges in federal court today, under a deal that could buy them gentler sentences in exchange for cooperation in an FBI corruption investigation.

Bill J. Allen, Veco’s chief executive, and Rick Smith, the company’s vice president and chief lobbyist could sit behind bars for five to 15 years and shell out up to $250,000 in fines on each count.

In the written charges, prosecutors say Allen and Smith conspired “to offer and provide things of value to” three state representatives and two senators, none of them named in the document. Among the specifics listed, Allen is accused of paying a “special bonus” of corporate funds to certain Veco executives so they could make illegal campaign contributions.

The two executives will likely provide important testimony in the cases of three state legislators charged with extortion and bribery in federal court last week — and the two anonymous state senators implicated in their guilty pleas.

As reported by Paul on Friday, the indictment alleges a classic cash-for-votes corruption scheme. One of the legislators, Pete Kott, met with Allen in the executive’s hotel suite where he complained about having “to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie,” to ensure government-backing of a pipeline valuable to Veco. In response to the legislator’s complaints, Allen said: “I own your ass.”

The indictment masks the identities of two Alaska state senators, calling them only by A and B. It’s not clear if Alaska’s Senate President Ben Stevens, son of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), whose office was raided by the FBI in August, is one of them.

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