TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A Miami businessman accused of making illegal contributions to the campaigns of President Clinton and other Democrats apparently has fled the country, federal authorities say.

Mark Jimenez, 52, is considered a fugitive, Justice Department spokesman John Russell said. He wouldn't say what steps the Justice Department was taking to locate Jimenez, The Tampa Tribune reported Wednesday.

Mitchell Fuerst, a staff attorney for Jimenez's company, Future Tech International, said he doesn't ``hold much hope that he is coming back.''

Jimenez came to the United States in the early 1980s. He built Future Tech, a distributor of computer components and peripherals in Miami, from a small company to one that does more than $250 million a year in business.

Jimenez, a Philippine national, was indicted in September on 17 counts alleging he made nearly $40,000 in illegal contributions to Democratic campaigns in 1994 and 1996. He was Florida's largest donor to the national Democratic Party in 1996.

The businessman and others in his company allegedly schemed to funnel contributions of his own money or company money through company employees to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.

The practice, referred to as ``conduit contributions,'' is a way of evading contribution limits or laws that ban companies from contributing to campaigns for federal offices.