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JUDGE EXTENDS PROBATION OF EX-FINANCIER

Michael Milken's probation was extended again Tuesday so the Securities and Exchange Commission can continue investigating whether he violated it.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood signed the extension order after the ex-junk bond financier and the government agreed to the conditions. His probation had been set to expire June 1.The order said the extension was meant to "preserve the court's jurisdiction to initiate violation proceedings in the event that Milken has violated the conditions of his consent decree."

Calls to Milken attorney Richard Sandler weren't immediately re-turned.

Michael Reese, a spokesman for Milken, said the 49-year-old financier, was hoping for a quick resolution to the SEC probe.

"It would be nice if he could put this behind him and move on," he said.

The SEC notified the U.S. Probation Department in California in February that it was conducting a formal investigation to determine if Milken had violated an SEC order barring him from any securities dealers or brokers. Wood extended probation by three months then.

The SEC is expected to study whether Milken violated probation when he counseled media entrepreneur Ted Turner in negotiations to sell Turner Broadcasting System Inc. to Time Warner Inc. for $7.5 billion.

Milken also advised News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch when his company linked up with MCI Communications Corp. last year.

Milken was one of the richest and most powerful financiers of the 1980s, before his work with high-profile mergers led to a guilty plea to six counts of securities fraud in an insider-trading scandal.

In February, Wood relaxed Milken's probation, allowing him to travel outside his native Los Angeles without permission.

Milken has said through his lawyers that he has complied with probation and the SEC rules after serving two years in prison, paying more than $1 billion in fines and being banished from the securities business for life.

Milken has been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, which is in remission.