Brown’s Accuser in Bribery Probe Says FBI Told Him Of Death Threat
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s accuser in a bribery probe - a Vietnamese- American businessman - said Wednesday that the FBI reported a threat against his life.
Binh T. Ly, who is living in Florida, has said Brown accepted $700,000 to help lift the U.S. trade embargo against Vietnam.
The FBI ″told me that I should take serious precautions because my life is in danger,″ Ly told a news conference. The FBI told him ″that my life has been threatened.″
The FBI and police in the Miami area have provided surveillance and protection since Ly was told of the threat a few days ago, the businessman said. Ly said the federal law enforcement agency did not tell him who made the death threat.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said the FBI confirmed the death threat to him on Tuesday. Rohrabacher, who paid for Ly’s flight from Florida to Washington for the hastily arranged news conference, called on Attorney General Janet Reno to have Ly testify before a federal grand jury.
Grand jury testimony would make Ly less of a target, said Rohrabacher, a conservative who had called for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Ly’s allegations against Brown.
Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern had no immediate comment on Rohrabacher’s request. Ly declined to give any details. Bureau spokesmen didn’t immediately return telephone calls seeking comment. Commerce Department spokeswoman Carol Hamilton said Brown would have no comment on the matter because the investigation is continuing.
The Justice Department and a federal grand jury in Miami have investigated Ly’s allegations against Brown for several months. Brown has adamantly denied them.
Earlier this year Ly accused Nguyen Van Hao, a former Vietnamese government official who was his business partner, of arranging a $700,000 payment to Brown.
Ly, who previously passed an FBI polygraph test, has acknowledged that he has no direct evidence to support his allegations, which are based on his conversations with Hao.
Brown has acknowledged meeting three times with Hao - in November and December of 1992 and in February of this year, after he became commerce secretary. But Brown has denied receiving any money or having any kind of business relationship with Hao.