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State Sen. Lee, 28 others formally indicted in corruption case

April 4, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
California State Sen. Leland Yee and 28 others have been formally indicted in a corruption case.

The case is centered around a Chinese organization the FBI says is a front for an Asian gang.

Yee is charged with conspiring to connect an undercover FBI agent with an arms dealer in exchange for campaign contributions and bribery. The outspoken gun control advocate is also accused of trying to help an undercover agent obtain weapons from a Muslim rebel group.

Records show Yee used campaign money to pay for flights to the Philippines.

Federal officials allege he tried to coordinate a gun-running operation from that country.

Yee is free on $500,000 bond pending trial and has not yet entered a plea. He and most of the other defendants, including Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Lee's Senate campaign committee paid $894 for a flight to Manila "to meet with Filipino officials" in September 2008, the records show. Another trip in July 2012 included a $246 payment from Yee's officeholder account for an Asiana Airlines flight to Manila for what was called a "governmental fact-finding" trip.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Yee spent at least $62,000 at the New Asia restaurant, a San Francisco Chinatown eatery that FBI investigators allege hosted many events of the Chee Kung Tong, the organization at the heart of the case.

The senator's new lawyer, former federal prosecutor Jim Lassart, didn't immediately return a phone call Friday.

Chow remains in jail after a magistrate judge declared the Hong Kong native and convicted felon a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Chow is the leader of a community group that the FBI says is a front for a notorious Asian gang. His charges include money laundering and trafficking in stolen goods and illegal cigarettes.

The two new people charged in the case are Zanghao Wu and Tong Zao Zhang.

They are charged with buying contraband cigarettes from an undercover FBI agent in New York. The Marlboro cigarettes were missing stamps that show New York state taxes had been paid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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