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Semnani loan didn't break law, probers say

The Attorney General's office has found no evidence that the owner of Utah's only low-level radioactive waste dump violated state laws when he guaranteed a loan to a member of the Utah Board of Radiation Control.

"Based on the information we were able to gather, there was no cause for filing a complaint," said Reed Richards, chief deputy to Attorney General Jan Graham.The attorney general's office had been looking into an incident where Khosrow Semnani, owner of Envirocare of Utah, in 1993 guaranteed a $15,000 loan to Preston Truman, who at the time represented the environmental community on the 11-member Radiation Control Board.

Truman was also cleared by the attorney general's investigation, Richards said.

Questions were raised about whether the loan guarantee violated the Governmental Ethics Act, given that Envirocare's business practices, permits and violations are reviewed by the board.

Richards said investigators looked at three issues. One was whether an appointed member of an oversight board qualifies as a state official as defined by the Ethics Act. That is not clearly defined in the law, he said.

The second was whether the loan amounted to a gift. In this case, the loan was made at market rates, and the full amount was collected.

The third issue is a requirement in the law that there be some evidence that votes were made on issues directly affecting Semnani or Truman.

"We could not find any votes cast on those issues. Bottom line, we could not find a violation," Richards said.

Semnani and Truman both served on the board from 1991 to 1997 and apparently became close friends. The loan became public during an unrelated civil lawsuit.