Criminal investigations underway in Oracle California scandal

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The political inquiry may be over into California’s $95 million contract with Oracle, but the row just won’t go away: now there’s the thorny prospect of criminal investigations to be dealt with.

According to reports from California, now that the internal inquiry is at an end, Attorney General Bill Lockyer is ready to ramp up his criminal investigation of the scandal. To that end,. the state Department of Justice is setting up meetings with key figures involved with the disputed contract. It has also begun to examine the thousands of pages of testimony from the state inquiry.

Lawyers for the Justice Department recently tried to meet two of the key political decision makers in the row: Senator Richard Polanco and Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh.

But the Attorney General is set to play a cautious game. ``At this stage, no particular significance or negative connotation should be attached to the decision by my office to seek information or assistance from anyone in connection with the Oracle matter, and we have received very good cooperation with our investigation from state government employees and officials,'' he said.

Nonetheless Lockyer's staff seized shredded documents from the state Department of Information Technology in early May amid reports that Oracle documents were being destroyed. It’s also been suggested that they have now confiscated Calfornia’s former Department of General Services director Barry Keene's computer.

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