Jan. 28, 2008 -- A federal judge sent accused Illinois political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko to jail today after federal prosecutors accused him of violating his bail terms by a convoluted series of financial transactions with Mideast banks.
Rezko has become an "Achilles heel" for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama after disclosures he and people associated with him had raised almost $200,000 for Obama and that Obama sought Rezko's "help and advice" in the purchase of a new home.
In a court hearing in Chicago, prosecutors detailed a $3.5 million wire transfer from a bank in Beirut, Lebanon that they said was moved through a series of accounts until it reached Rezko or some of his relatives who had posted property for his bond.
Under the terms of his agreement, prosecutors said in a filing with the court, Rezko was obligated to disclose any change in his financial status.
In court, prosecutors said Rezko had become a "flight risk" because of his secretive transactions in the Mideast.
According to the court filings, the money came from a company, General Mediterranean, owned by a British-based Iraqi billionaire, Nadhmi Auchi, who was convicted in France on fraud charges.
The filing says when Auchi was unable to obtain a visa to visit the United States in 2005, Rezko intervened and "asked certain Illinois government officials" to appeal the State Department's ruling.
The officials who Rezko approached are not specified.Sen. Obama had just taken office as a U.S. senator in 2005, the same year he sought Rezko's help in the purchase of his home.
The senator has said he was unable to afford both the home and an empty lot next to it which were effectively being sold as a package. Rezko's wife ultimately bought the empty lot, closing the same day as Obama did on his home.