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Fri, Oct 03, 2008

Feds Seize Businessman's G-IV On Drug Transport Charges

Attorneys Ask Permission For Family To Keep Flying

A California businessman has asked the court's permission for his family to continue flying his Gulfstream G-IV, even after the high-dollar bizjet was seized in July over charges it was used to transport narcotics.

The Orange Country Register reports Henry T. Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom, will go before a federal judge Monday asking for a ruling that the FBI return the aircraft, on the grounds he won't fly in it... as long as his family and employees still can.

The 1993 Gulfstream, registry N2107Z, was seized in a July 16 raid at John Wayne Airport. The FBI asserts Nicholas "...distributed ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and other controlled substances from 1999 to 2007, and used the G-IV to transport controlled substances to various locations, both domestically and internationally, for further distribution," according to court documents.

Nicholas has pleaded not guilty on charges in two federal cases -- one that charges him with illegal drugs distribution, the second accusing him of -- wait for it -- financial fraud as CEO of Broadcom, manufacturer of circuits used in broadband telecommunications.

A hearing on the fraud case -- accusing Nicholas of bilking Broadcom of some $2.2 billion in backdated employee stock options -- is scheduled to begin next April. The drug case will go before the court no sooner than November 2009.

In addition to the jet, authorities have also placed a lien on Nicholas' Las Vegas penthouse, and his Newport Coast home. Curiously, a second jet owned by Nicholas, a Cessna Citation 550, was not seized by the feds.

In arguing for the plane to be returned, Nicholas' attorneys state his private property should not have been seized over allegations alone. "Dr. Nicholas is simply vigorously protecting his constitutional rights," reads a court filing.

FMI: www.fbi.gov, www.broadcom.com

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