FBI searches home of Alaska Sen. Stevens

WASHINGTON, July 30 Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:50pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - The FBI and IRS have searched the home of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in a ski resort in Alaska as part of an investigation into his links with an oil-services company, officials said on Monday.

"The FBI and IRS are conducting a court-authorized search warrant in Girdwood, Alaska," an FBI spokesman said in Washington, but gave no further details.

The Alaskan politician, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S Senate in history, issued a statement saying: "My attorneys were advised this morning that federal agents wished to search my home in Girdwood in connection with an ongoing investigation.

"I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence the outcome," the statement said.

Girdwood is about 40 miles south of Anchorage, the state's largest city.

Stevens is the subject of a grand-jury investigation into his links with managers of VECO Corp., the state's largest oil-services company, as well as numerous unrelated fisheries matters.

In May, Bill Allen, then the chief executive of VECO, along with a vice president, Rick Smith, pleaded guilty to several federal corruption charges. The two admitted paying over $400,000 to bribe Alaska lawmakers.

Allen had been a financial supporter of Stevens' campaigns and a partner with him on a race horse. He also oversaw the a project to remodel Stevens' Girdwood home in 2000, vetting bills and construction work.

The Anchorage Daily News has reported that contractors who worked on the remodeling of Stevens' home had their records subpoenaed by the federal grand jury.

Stevens is the former chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. During his tenure as chairman of the committee, Stevens developed a reputation of delivering federal funds to public works projects in the state. (Additional reporting by Dai Wakabayashi in Seattle)

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