MIAMI — Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, accused of federal fraud charges in a casino deal, is willing to be interviewed by police trying to solve the gangland-style murder of the businessman who sold the floating casinos, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Abramoff, whose lobbying activities are under investigation in Washington, had expected to meet with Fort Lauderdale homicide detectives shortly after the February 2001 slaying of Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, but the interview never took place, attorney Neal Sonnett said.
Now the detectives are expressing new interest in talking with Abramoff, and Sonnett said he would arrange that.
“He’s always been willing to cooperate,” he said of Abramoff.
Sonnett said he was unaware of any information Abramoff might have about the killing. Fort Lauderdale police did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Abramoff, 46, and Adam Kidan, 41, are charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in the September 2000 purchase of SunCruz Casinos from Boulis. Prosecutors say the pair concocted a fake $23 million wire transfer to make it appear to lenders they were putting a sizable stake of their own money into the deal.
Both have denied wrongdoing. Kidan pleaded not guilty last week. Abramoff is due in court Aug. 29 to enter his plea. Both are free on bail.
Police interviewed Kidan about the Boulis killing in 2001, according to his attorney, Martin Jaffe. Jaffe would not comment on the specifics of the interview.
The SunCruz fleet of 11 ships, equipped with slot machines and gaming tables, sails to international water from ports in Florida and South Carolina.
Acrimony, physical altercation
A few months following the $147.5 million sale of SunCruz, Boulis was shot to death after his car was blocked by other vehicles and an assailant pulled up alongside. The killing happened after weeks of acrimony stemming from the sale, including a physical altercation between Kidan and Boulis, who also founded the Miami Subs fast-food chain.
In Washington, Abramoff is under investigation by a federal grand jury and by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee for deals in which he and an associate received at least $66 million from six Indian tribes to lobby for their casinos and other interests. The tribes question whether the charges were excessive.
Congressional Democrats have raised questions about Abramoff’s ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The congressman has asked the House Ethics Committee to review allegations that Abramoff or his clients paid some of DeLay’s overseas travel expenses. DeLay has denied knowing that the expenses were paid by Abramoff, whom he once described as “one of my closest and dearest friends.”
Abramoff raised thousands of dollars for DeLay and other Republican members of Congress.