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Exhaustive Probe of Meese’s Personal Finances Under Way

March 26, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An examination into U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III’s personal finances has begun under the supervision of independent counsel James C. McKay, a newspaper reported today.

The probe is comparable to an Internal Revenue Service ″net worth″ examination, conducted in cases in which persons are suspected of not having paid taxes on substantial illicit gains, the Los Angeles Times said in today’s editions.

″The purpose is to see and analyze whether there was an unexplained amount of money coming to Mr. Meese,″ the newspaper said, quoting an unidentified source familiar with the investigation.

However, Nathan Lewin, a lawyer representing Meese, said it would be ″the most outrageous thing in the world to draw a negative inference″ about Meese because of the type of investigation under way.

Very few people could withstand such a scrutiny, Lewin said.

The probe examines Meese’s finances throughout his service in the Reagan White House, initially as President Reagan’s counselor and later as attorney general, Lewin said. Of particular interest are investments handled by W. Franklyn Chinn, a San Francisco financial adviser.

The primary purpose of the probe is to determine whether Meese derived any benefit, or promise of benefit, from his relationship with his longtime friend E. Robert Wallach while Wallach was representing Wedtech Corp. and the promoters of a $1 billion Iraqi oil pipeline, the Times said.

Wallach, Meese’s former lawyer, and Chinn, who was introduced to Meese by Wallach, were indicted in December on federal charges of defrauding Wedtech, a now-defunct defense contractor based in New York.

The investigation is being conducted by special IRS agent Eugene Cardillo and revenue agent Robert L. Charboneau, both assigned to McKay’s office, the Times said.

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