Safavian indicted

David Safavian, who recently resigned his post as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and was arrested, has now been formally indicted on charges of obstructing a General Services Administration proceeding, obstructing a U.S. Senate proceeding and making false statements, the Justice Department announced.

Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher of Justice’s Criminal Division said a Washington, D.C., grand jury returned the five-count indictment today. The indictment alleges that from May 2002 to January 2004, Safavian made false statements and obstructed investigations into his relationship with a lobbyist.

The investigations were intended to discover whether Safavian, who was GSA’s chief of staff from May 2002 to January 2004, helped the lobbyist in efforts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and near Washington. Justice’s statement did not name the lobbyist, but he is widely known to be Jack Abramoff.

Safavian accompanied Abramoff and other guests on a 2002 golf trip to Scotland. Safavian has said he paid his own way rather than taking the offer of a free trip. However, in seeking clearance to take the trip from a GSA ethics officer, Safavian allegedly said that the lobbyist had no business with GSA at the time.

He is also charged with making a false statement and obstruction of a GSA inspector general’s probe for repeating that claim. The indictment alleges that in communicating with both the ethics officer and an IG special agent, Safavian concealed the fact that the lobbyist did have business with GSA before the August 2002 golf trip and that Safavian was aiding the lobbyist in that business.

The indictment also charges Safavian with obstruction of a Senate proceeding for making the same false claim in providing information about the Scotland trip to the Indian Affairs Committee, which was investigating allegations of misconduct made by American Indian tribes against Abramoff and others.

Safavian was arrested Sept. 19 and released on his own recognizance. If he is convicted, he faces maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each of the five counts.

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