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Ex-Platinum executive, NYC union chief face trial for bribe charges

Ex-Platinum executive, NYC union chief face trial for bribe charges
From Reuters - October 24, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York federal jury is scheduled to hear opening statements on Tuesday in a bribery trial of the former head of New York Citys correction officers union and a former executive at the now-defunct hedge fund firm Platinum Partners.

Norman Seabrook, who once led the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, and former Platinum executive Murray Huberfeld are facing charges of honest services wire fraud and conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in federal court in Manhattan.

In June 2016, U.S. prosecutors charged that Seabrook, 57, invested $20 million of union funds with Platinum in exchange for a bribe arranged by Huberfeld, 57. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Last December, seven people affiliated with Platinum were charged with running a $1 billion fraud that prosecutors said was like a Ponzi scheme. They have pleaded not guilty.

Platinum has been placed under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

Real estate developer Jona Rechnitz, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges and agreed to cooperate with authorities, will likely play a key role in the case. Rechnitz is expected to testify that he helped arrange the bribery scheme.

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