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Pitino alleges extortion attempt

April 19, 2009 at 10:40 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 19 (UPI) -- The FBI says it is investigating an alleged extortion attempt against University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Pitino said he contacted the FBI after he and his family allegedly were threatened as part of a criminal scheme to extort money, The Louisville (Ky.) Journal-Courier reported Sunday.

"While I did not want to make this matter public, I recently learned that the individual behind this extortion attempt has already gone to the media with false, defamatory and outrageous allegations in an attempt to pressure me to cave in to this scheme," Pitino said in a statement released Saturday.

He gave no details about the alleged extortion attempt, the Journal-Courier reported.

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay told the newspaper he represents the suspect, said to be Karen Sypher, the wife of the team's equipment manager.

The FBI has interviewed his client and there "may be criminal charges placed against her," Clay told the Journal-Courier, declining to offer specifics.

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