Feds: Philly limo owner tried to bribe police

December 3, 2010 2:58:15 PM PST
A limousine company owner and his friend are charged with trying to bribe Philadelphia police to get criminal and parking violations dropped.

Federal prosecutors say Millennium Limousine owner Bassam Salaheldein and friend Khaleel Eid also conspired to pay the officer for help getting a fraudulent gun permit.

"One defendant spoke about how he had a prior conviction and that would stop him from getting a gun permit. Another defendant had pending aggravated assault charges and wanted that case to go away," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Khan. "To try and accomplish those things, these men tried to bribe a Philadelphia police officer."

Investigators say Salahaldein also tried to bribe the police to help out a friend who was facing criminal charges for assaulting a police officer.

The FBI says Salahaldein turned to a disbarred lawyer and the parking authority's chief enforcement officer to help him out.

Instead, they went undercover for the F.B.I.

Salahaldein allegedly met the undercover officers on several occasions at the Dunkin' Donuts shop on Spring Garden Street, where they secretly recorded conversations and handed over bribe payments.

Salahaldein's brother says he's innocent.

"I feel he's a victim, he's innocent, and there's nothing I could say," said B. Salahaldein. When asked why his brother needed guns, B. Salahaldein said "Self defense."

Both defendants face serious jail time if convicted. They will, at least, spend this weekend in jail until a bail hearing on Monday.