A Georgetown University graduate now believed living in France was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury here on charges he tried to extort $2 million from Harry J. Smith Jr., a Washington shipping broker.
The 10-count indictment alleges that Martin H. Donohoe, of Lee, Mass., caused several extortionate phone calls to be made to Smith last February. Charles B. Dwyer, a college classmate of Donohoe's, pleaded guilty in July to the same charge and has been cooperating in the investigation of Donohoe.
Donohoe worked for Smith from 1974 to 1977, according to yesterday's indictment. He allegedly threatened to harm Smith's reputation by planting newspaper stories that Smith "advanced his business interests by bribing foreign officials."
The Washington Post printed a story on Feb. 12 which said Smith's firm, St. John International, directed Jamaica's grain shipping business to another firm in which Smith had a financial interest. The second firm, Agrobulk Shipping Corp., made a $900,000 profit in 1975, according to documents cited in the story, apparently by hiring others to ship the grain for less than the Jamaican government paid Agrobulk.
Donohoe left the country for Europe shortly after the FBI arrested Dwyer in February.
Justice Department attorneys said yesterday they have not located Donohoe, but hope to find him and start extradition proceedings. The indictment was brought now because the grand jury considering the case was about to expire, one said.
Smith's attorney, Seymour Glanzer, said in February that The Post was "unwittingly used" by the alleged extortionists. He did not dispute the thurst of the article about Smith's dealings with Jamaica.
Jamaican officials started an investigation of their shipping program after The Post article and have since replaced Smith as shipping broker.
Donohoe was charged specifically with five counts of violating federal extortion law in connection with five calls to Smith in February. He also was charged with five counts of violating local extortion law for the same calls. The local charges carry a much stiffer prison sentence upon conviction, 20 years compared to two on the federal charges.
Donohoe's attorney in Massachusetts could not be reached for comment yesterday.