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David Duke accused of Gambling White Supremacy Funds

Today: November 24, 2000 at 9:56:21 PST

By Brett Martel
NEW ORLEANS -- Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, whose overseas whereabouts had been a mystery four days after federal agents raided his home, is finally aware of new money laundering and fraud allegations against him, a spokesman said.

Duke placed a call from Russia to an associate, at the time still unaware he was the center of an FBI investigation, a spokesman said.

"He was outraged at this invasion of his home," said Vincent Edwards, a spokesman for Duke's National Organization For European-American Rights, or N.O.F.E.A.R. "He believes 100 percent that this is a political effort to defame him. He's never been charged with a crime. It's nothing but a smear
campaign at this point."

He said Duke was preparing a statement, which would be released later. U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan, who is in charge of the investigation, did not return a phone call for comment.
Edwards sad Duke had been out of contact last week because he had rented a flat in Russia with no phone service, and his cellular phone service was
temporarily out.

The former Ku Klux Klan leader has been in Russia to promote his new book "The Ultimate Supremacism," in which Duke argues that Russia and the former Communist bloc can save the white race from Jewish oligarchs and organized
crime. The book is being published in Russian.

Duke is expected to remain in Russia for several more weeks, after which his plans are unclear, Edwards said. The federal warrant for last Thursday's raid of Duke's two-story, brick home in Mandeville, La., is based in large part on testimony from confidential informants.

 It alleges Duke took hundreds of thousands of dollars he
solicited from supporters of his white supremacist cause and gambled the money away at casinos.

Edwards said he has never known Duke to visit a casino in the two years he has worked for him, but said it would not be a crime if he had. "He has been very clear in his mailings that the money is for his work and to sustain him personally," Edwards said. "If he accepts a supporter's check for $25 and happens to go out to dinner that night and it costs $25, it's not a crime."

Edwards also said he suspects the informants were disgruntled employees, including a former girlfriend of Duke's who got into drugs and began hassling Duke for money.

"I think we know who the informants are and they have no credibility," Edwards said. "Every check that comes in is processed, logged, and we keep every envelope and every letter, and they're dated and placed in a box because we know we're going to be audited," Edwards said. "It would be insanity for him to have one single dollar misappropriated."

Duke and his supporters claim they have been constant subjects of government intimidation since Duke won a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989. In the past decade, Duke also has made relatively strong, but unsuccessful showings in races for the U.S. Senate in 1990, governor in 1991 and Congress in 1999.

Edwards said he believe the FBI purposely timed its raid when Duke and his attorney were out of town and took numerous documents that would allow them to create files on many of Duke's associates and supporters.

"Some of the files they took had nothing to do with their investigation, like letters from prisoners asking for free copies of his book," Edwards said.