August 25, 2015 10:44:01 am
An Indian-American businessman has been charged for attempting to bribe a local politician in exchange for support to get a license for his liquor store in the US state of Ohio. Mukundkumar Patel, 52, was charged in criminal information with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in a statement.
According to the charges, Patel of East Cleveland had to seek a liquor license for his store. While Patel submitted a liquor license application, city officials told him they were not inclined to endorse his application but would consider his request after speaking with community stakeholders.
Patel met with an East Cleveland councilman in October last year and offered to pay him USD 2,000 if he signed the application. The councilman refused and Patel raised his offer to USD 3,000. After refusing again the businessman told the politician to name his price, a statement said.
The councilman contacted the FBI to report the bribe solicitation. In another meeting with the councilman, Patel offered him USD 4,000 up front and USD 1,000 later in return for signing Patel’s beer and wine application, it said. Patel paid him USD 4,000 in cash and the councilman turned the money over to the FBI.
“We will not tolerate individuals believing they can circumvent the law by bribing a public official,” Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Stephen Anthony said. “The FBI commends the public official involved for adhering to his ethical principles by not accepting the bribe made by this business owner.”
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