Lawsuits Allege Minn.'s Coleman Diverted Funds

FBI investigating claims a friend steered cash toward senator
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2008 1:45 PM CST
State Election Director Gary Pose, center, along with reps for Norm Coleman and Al Franken discuss disputed ballots in the Senate recount, Dec. 5, 2008 in Buffalo, Minn.    (AP Photo/Dawn Villella)
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(Newser) – The FBI is looking into a pair of lawsuits that claim a friend of Norm Coleman tried to channel funds to the Minnesota senator, the Pioneer Press of St. Paul reports. A Houston suit says financier Nasser Kazeminy aimed to divert money to Coleman through Coleman's wife’s employer; another suit in Delaware suggests Kazeminy tried to pass funds directly to the senator.

Coleman’s campaign, locked in a vote-counting battle with Democrat Al Franken for his seat, called the allegations “baseless, sleazy, and politically inspired,” and said last night it was “not aware of any investigation that is under way,” but welcomed the prospect of one. The lawsuits, one of which was filed by the Republican founder of Kazeminy’s firm, argue Kazeminy tried to pass money to Coleman for “no legitimate reason.”