Hawaiian Airlines Investor Arrested

HONOLULU (AP) -- The main investor in one of the two competing bankruptcy reorganization plans for Hawaiian Airlines was arrested Wednesday for allegedly trying to bribe an undercover FBI agent in a fraudulent scheme to fund the plan, federal authorities said.

Paul Boghosian, 50, was arrested in St. Louis after he allegedly agreed to pay a $500,000 bribe to an FBI agent posing as a hedge fund manager, in exchange for a $2.5 million loan, U.S. Attorney David N. Kelley said.

Boghosian, head of Hawaiian Investment Partners Group LLC, also ''made a number of misrepresentations to the Bankruptcy Court, among others, regarding HIP's ability in fact to provide approximately $300 million in new equity funding and financing in order to carry out HIP's reorganization plan,'' federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The St. Louis man was charged with conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud and two counts of commercial bribery. Each count carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Hawaiian Investment Partners, the Hawaiian Reorganization Committee LLC and Hawaiian Airlines pilot Robert Konop filed a joint plan to bring the Honolulu-based airline out of bankruptcy.

In a statement filed with the court on Nov. 11, Boghosian and other members of his plan indicated that Hawaiian Investment Partners would provide at least $200 million in new equity to the airline and had a commitment for an additional $100 million in credit.

Boghosian and others submitted financial documents showing Boghosian had access to $500 million in a bank account.

During a meeting last month in New York City, the undercover agent told Boghosian that the Hawaiian Investment Partners' financial documents and account numbers were bogus and the agent warned that the reorganization plan would collapse because there was no real funding, according to the federal complaint.

The FBI agent then asked for a kickback of $500,000 to get his hedge fund to make a loan under those circumstances. Boghosian was arrested Wednesday while meeting with the agent to allegedly accept the loan and arrange payment of the bribe, officials said.

Hawaiian's court-appointed trustee, Joshua Gotbaum, Ranch Capital LLC and a committee of unsecured creditors have submitted their own joint reorganization plan. Ranch Capital last year purchased a majority share in the airline's parent, Hawaiian Holdings Inc.

''I think it is now clear that there is only one legitimate plan of reorganization for the future of Hawaiian Airlines,'' Gotbaum said Wednesday.

A two-day hearing is scheduled to begin Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to consider the Gotbaum-backed plan.

Hawaiian Airlines, the nation's 12th-largest carrier, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2003.