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Shareholder in Tech Co. Sues Rep. Jefferson

A former shareholder of a technology firm is suing Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) and his wife to recoup his losses, arguing that they helped to run the company into bankruptcy.

Daniel Cadle, a stockholder in the now-defunct firm iGate, filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

The lawsuit alleges that Jefferson, his wife, Andrea, and the former president of iGate, Vernon Jackson, “acted in concert and conspired to use the funds of iGate” to solicit and deliver bribes from individuals and businesses in Africa and the United States.

The suit charges Jefferson with soliciting and accepting nearly $400,000 in bribes from Jackson to promote iGate’s services in the U.S. and abroad. It further alleges that Jackson transferred 30,775,000 shares of iGate stock to Jefferson from 2001 to 2005.

The firm is now out of business. Jackson pleaded guilty to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Jefferson in exchange for help advancing his business. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Cadle charged that the bribes were paid “without the consent or knowledge of iGate’s shareholders” and did not lead to “valid or legal consideration” by iGate as reimbursement.

“The wrongful and tortious conduct of the Defendants not only put iGate out of business to the direct detriment of its shareholders, but also dissipated hundreds of thousands of dollars of the shareholders’ collective investment, for illegal purposes of which the shareholders of iGate were not aware,” the suit states.

A resident of Trumbull County, Ohio, Cadle purchased 327,500 shares of iGate’s Class A common stock around May 31, 2000.

The suit largely tracks a continuing federal probe into Jefferson and his allegedly illegal business transactions.

But the Louisiana Congressman, who won re-election in 2006, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, questions swirl about why the FBI found $90,000 in the freezer of the Democrat’s New Orleans home.

Jefferson’s attorney, Robert Trout, is out of town and unavailable for comment.