Today’s Must Read

March 12, 2008 9:55 a.m.

How exactly did the feds end up snagging Eliot Spitzer? We’ve been asking the question since the story broke on Monday. Reports from a number of news outlets have been providing more and more details so that now, with the help of the feds’ filings, it’s possible to piece together a reasonably detailed timeline of how the investigation went down. So, without any more ado, here it is:

7/07: North Fork Bank in New York sends a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department about transfers in Spitzer’s personal accounts. The “bank’s report was triggered by Spitzer’s attempt to structure a $10,000 cash transaction into three parts.” Spitzer also reportedly asked the bank to “take his name off the wires.” The report reportedly sits “unnoticed in a vast Treasury Department database in Detroit” for several months.

Fall, 2007: Another bank, HSBC, sends a Suspicious Activity Report to the Treasury Department “about suspicious transactions connected to two shell companies, which drew the attention of investigators. That touched off an inquiry that led investigators to discover the July report on Mr. Spitzer, which showed he had made several wire transfers to those companies, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.”

10/07: The FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigative Division launch an investigation “focusing on an organization suspected of conducting prostitution and money-laundering crimes in the United States and Europe” — i.e. the Emperor’s Club VIP.

1/8/08: Investigators begin wiretaps of Emperor’s Club managers.

1/26/08: The FBI stakes out the Mayflower hotel in Washington, D.C. “after concluding from a wiretapped conversation that Spitzer might try to meet with a prostitute when he traveled to Washington to attend a black-tie dinner.”

2/7/08: Authorization for wiretaps expire.

2/11/08: Investigators renew wiretaps of Emperor’s Club phones.

2/12/08: Wiretaps pick up Spitzer (reportedly “Client 9“) discussing payments with Emperor’s Club managers and setting up a rendezvous for D.C. the next evening.

2/13/08: Spitzer has his rendezvous with “Kristen.”

3/5/08: Prosecutors arrest four managers of the prostitution ring. Investigator filings in support of the arrests detail the activities of “Client 9.”

Update: This post has been updated to reflect later reporting.

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