Indicted political fundraiser arrested
Antoin 'Tony' Rezko poured thousands of dollars into Obama's campaign

Associated Press | January 28, 2008

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Monday revoked the bond of an indicted real estate developer and political fundraiser whose contributions to Barack Obama's political campaigns subjected the Democratic White House hopeful to criticism from his chief rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The federal judge revoked the $2 million bail saying she feared Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a developer and fast food magnate, could be a flight risk. The judge said she became concerned after learning, among other things, that Rezko had received $3.5 million from a company in Lebanon after claiming he did not have any income.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy J. St. Eve remanded Rezko into the custody of the U.S. Marshall and scheduled another hearing for Tuesday.

Some of the people who put up property in Rezko's name also are renting out or trying to sell the property, according to prosecutors, raising concerns there may not be enough collateral to secure Rezko's bond.

Rezko, who was arrested at his suburban Chicago home Monday morning, has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering. He is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25.

Earlier Monday, Rezko attorney Joseph Duffy said he needed to get more information about the allegations before commenting.

The Democratic presidential candidate and senator from Illinois has said he had no indication of problems with Rezko when he accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. When prosecutors unsealed their charges against Rezko in 2006, Obama gave $11,500 (euro7,820) in Rezko contributions to charities.

Obama has since sought to distance himself from Rezko, even as Clinton invoked Rezko's name and his "slum lord business" during a recent debate. His campaign declined to comment on Rezko's arrest.

Earlier this month, Obama gave to charity more than $40,000 (euro27,109) in past political contributions from seven individuals with ties to Rezko. The decision to donate the money contributed to Obama's House and Senate campaigns -- but not his current presidential bid -- came after a published report that Obama is the unnamed "political candidate" in one paragraph of a 78-page prosecution document that outlines the case against Rezko.

Obama also has had to answer questions about how Rezko became involved in the purchase of the Obama family home as well as other ties to Rezko that go back more than 15 years.

Obama has been accused of no wrongdoing involving Rezko or anyone else.

Rezko also has been one of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's leading fundraisers.