Ney and Heaton both pled guilty to accepting thousands of dollars in gambling chips from a man only identified as the "Foreign Businessman" in the documents. That's the Syrian-born businessman Fouad al-Zayat (known as "The Fat Man" in the London casinos), who flew Ney and two of his staffers over to London for a high-flying night at a casino. Why? al-Zayat had a company that was seeking to sell U.S.-made airplanes and airplane parts to Iran, and he wanted Ney to get an exemption to U.S. laws that ban the sale of such parts to Iran.
The Fat Man knew how to have a good time. And just to make sure that Ney and his staffers enjoyed themselves during their visit, al-Zayat provided them with thousands of dollars in gambling chips. Ney walked away from their night of gambling with over $50,000 and Heaton with $5,000.
But Ney didn't want to declare the full amount to customs when he re-entered the U.S. So he gave $5,000 to one of his staffers (not Heaton) to carry through customs. And in order to save Ney the trouble of depositing the money into a bank once they returned, "Heaton stored this money in the safe of Ney's Congressional Office," according to the charging documents, "opening the safe as requested so that Ney could make repeated withdrawals."
Some people may wonder if it is possible for this form of bribery to occur right here in Indiana with eleven licensed riverboat casinos in our midst.