Former Meese Adviser Ordered Jailed
NEW YORK (AP) _ A former financial adviser to Attorney General Edwin Meese III and the adviser’s business partner have been ordered jailed for contempt after refusing to comply with federal subpoenas issued in connection with the Wedtech scandal, according to a report published today.
The subpoenas, issued in May by a federal grand jury in Manhattan, ordered W. Franklyn Chinn and his business partner, R. Kent London, to sign a waiver authorizing foreign banks and financial institutions to turn over records of their accounts.
Chinn, of San Francisco, was a director of Wedtech and had managed an investment fund for Meese and his wife. London, a physician, is a financial consultant.
The subpoenas and contempt findings were disclosed Friday as a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a civil contempt finding by U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Broderick of Manhattan. Chinn and London were ordered jailed until they comply.
The grand jury proceedings are secret and the decision did not mention either man by name.
However, The New York Times reported today that their lawyers were mentioned by name and the Times located several lawyers familiar with the case who confirmed the involvement of the two men.
The opinion said lawyers for Chinn and London never acknowledged whether any foreign bank accounts were involved or whether they contained any incriminating evidence.
The Times said attorney Peter Fleming worked on the appeal with London’s attorney, Peter Vigeland. Fleming declined to identify his client, who he said had been released on a $250 recognizance bond and that no decision had been made on whether to appeal further.
Law enforcement officials have said that the grand jury is investigating allegations that Chinn and London improperly shared a fraudulent $1.14 million consulting fee paid by Wedtech.
Wedtech has filed for protection under federal bankruptcy law and is under investigation on corruption allegations that have led to charges against 19 people. Among them are Rep. Mario Biaggi, D-N.Y., and Lyn Nofziger, former White House political director.