Former Rep. Otto E. Passman (D-La.), already charged with bribery in the Korean influence-buying scandal, was indicated again yesterday on separate charges of tax evasion concerning his alleged receipt of Korean payoff money.
According to the new charges returned in U.S. District Court here, Passman failed to report $143,000 in income for 1972 and 1973 and failed to pay taxes of more than $77,000 on that amount.
The earlier indictment charged Passman with taking $213,000 in cash from Korean businessman Tongsun Park in return for urging the South Korean government to buy Louisiana rice through Park.
Passman, who is 77 years old and hospitalized in New Orleans for mental and physical problems, has contended through his attorney that he is too ill to attend court proceedings in the earlier indictment, U.S. District Court Judge Barrington D. Parker has appointed two independent physicians to examine Passman to see if that is the case.
Passman, former chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that held a virtual veto over foreign aid, has consistently denied receiving illegal payments from Park.
The indictment returned yesterday charges that Passman concealed income by dealing in currency and by lying to Justice Department officials about his income. It covers a narrower time period than the bribery case involving $213,000.
In the first count, Passman is charged with reporting joint income with his wife in 1972 of $47.179, with a tax due of $15,650. In fact, according to the indictment, Passman and his wife earned $92,179 that year and should have paid taxes totaling $38,908.
The second count alleges that in 1973 Passman and his wife reported income of $56,018 on which they paid $20,069 in taxes. Their actual income was $154,018, on which the tax should have been $74,752, the indictment alleged.
The maximum penalty on conviction of each count is a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
In the bribery indictment, Passman also is accused of putting pressure on Department of Agriculture and State Department officials to approve the financing of Louisiana rice sales to South Korea through the federally funded Food for Peace program.
Passman is the second former congressman to be indicted in connection with the Korean influence-buying scandal. Former Rep. Richard T. Hanna (D-Calif.) pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge involving payments totaling $200,000 received from Park, and was sentenced this week to a prison term of 6 to 30-months.
Park, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, has reportedly testified that he gave $750,000 in cash and gifts to about 30 members of Congress. He received approximately $8 million in commissions on the rice exports he handled from the United States to South Korea, according to government figures.
Park was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Passman bribery case.
Passman entered the New Orleans hospital two days before his bribery indictment and is being treated for severe depression as well as for physical ailments generally attributed to old age. He left Congress in 1976 after 30 years as a member.