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May 12, 2006 at 4:46 PM
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Foggo the focus of multiple investigations

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Kyle Foggo, who resigned Monday from the Central Intelligence Agency, is the focus of an investigation of an alleged pattern of U.S. government corruption.

Foggo -- known as "Dusty" -- is an agency veteran who spent two decades undercover in five foreign postings, including Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Vienna and Frankfurt, the New York Times reported.

Porter J. Goss, who has resigned as C.I.A. director, plucked him from obscurity in November 2004, elevating him to the position of executive director.

Foggo has not been formally charged with any misconduct, but there are inquiries into whether he improperly awarded agency contracts to a longtime friend, Brent R. Wilkes, a military contractor whose companies have received nearly $100 million in government contracts.

Foggo has admitted attending poker parties throughout the 1990s held by Wilkes at the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The parties were attended by C.I.A. officials and congressmen, including Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a California Republican, who has already resigned admitting to bribery. Several news media accounts have reported that prostitutes frequented the parties.

Charlie Wilson, a former Texas congressman, said the only illicit act at the parties was cigar smoking on a nonsmoking floor.

Witnesses: Kennedy drinking before crash

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Witnesses reportedly have told Washington police that Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., was in a Capitol Hill bar before his early morning May 4 car crash.

Kennedy has denied drinking before he slammed his Ford Mustang into a security barrier near the U.S. Capitol. But, the Boston Herald says a source close to the investigation told police Kennedy had been spotted at the Hawk & Dove before his accident.

Kennedy blamed his accident on prescription painkillers and sleeping pills and checked into a Minnesota rehabilitation center.

The Herald reported last week that a Hawk & Dove hostess said the 38-year-old lawmaker is a frequent customer and was drinking in the bar before the single-vehicle crash. Kennedy did not take a sobriety test.

Nigerian pipeline explodes

LAGOS, Nigeria, May 12 (UPI) -- As many as 200 people were killed Friday in a Nigerian gasoline pipeline explosion that officials said was apparently set off by vandals siphoning fuel.

The fire from the blast has been extinguished, and Nigerian police officers have secured the Snake Island scene, CNN reported.

Despite the country's oil riches, Nigeria's population is impoverished and people often tap into pipelines crossing their lands to steal fuel for cooking or sale on the black market.

Officials said many of the victims were area residents who rushed to collect fuel spilling out of the pipeline, an action known as "scooping," The New York Times reported.

The pipe had been dug out of the sand and bore visible marks of drilling, officials said. Some 500 cans designed to hold gasoline were found nearby and apparently contributed to the fire once it was ignited, according to the Times.

CNN reported that fuel thefts can easily lead to tragedy because safety is not a concern when people are desperate.

FSB, customs officials fired

MOSCOW, May 12 (UPI) -- A series of government firings Friday rattled Russia's intelligence and customs services amid a widening corruption investigation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed two top officials in the FSB, Maj. Gen. E.A. Kolesnikov, the first deputy chief of investigations, and Maj. Gen. A.P. Plotnikov, the deputy chief of investigations. Also fired was Lt. Gen. S.I. Fomenko as deputy chief for prevention of contraband and drug trafficking, Itar-Tass reported.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov fired the head of the Federal Customs Service, Alexander Zherikhov, and two of his deputies, Leonid Lozbenko and Yury Azarov, as prosecutors investigated 20 cases against senior customs and economics ministry officials, Novosti reported. Andrei Belyaninov, a former KGB officer, was appointed to succeed Zherikov.

Investigators are under way involving some 1,700 metric tons of allegedly fake Georgian and Moldovan wine and 75,000 metric tons of meat brought in under lower customs duties.

EU alarmed over Bulgaria organized crime

BRUSSELS, Belgium, May 12 (UPI) -- Bulgaria's failure to tackle organized crime reportedly alarms the European Union but shouldn't keep the former communist state from joining the bloc in 2007.

"Brussels prepares to embrace a land of greed, killing and corruption," London's Times said Friday, adding that Brussels was worried but not enough to stop Bulgaria's entry to the EU.

Only seven months before Bulgaria is to join the EU, the power of organized crime in the Balkan country begins to alarm the Brussels officials, The Times said.

A study by the Center for the Study of Democracy, an anti-corruption watchdog funded by Western governments, said that in Bulgaria "organized crime and the related corruption are among the most serious obstacles to the establishment of the rule of law and a competitive market economy."

Boyko Todorov, research director at the center, said, "There are a couple of oligarchs who have purchased half the lawmakers in the national assembly. Sometimes contract killing is the easy option."

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