A former official of the Federal Energy Administration pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court yesterday to bribery charges involving a government contract in a kickback scheme allegedly set up in 1977 with ex-CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson, who now is in federal custody.
Wilson, who was apprehended by federal agents last month, had been a fugitive since his indictment in April 1980 on charges that he illegally exported explosives to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, ran a terrorist training school there and plotted an abortive attempt to assassinate an exiled Qaddafi opponent.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol E. Bruce said in court yesterday that Wilson acted as a middleman between the former FEA official, Paul Cyr, 61, and representatives of Data Financial Systems Inc., a Washington-based company, and that Cyr introduced those representatives to FEA staff. Sources have described Wilson and Cyr as close personal friends during that time. Bruce told Judge John H. Pratt that in September 1977, Data Financial received a $26,000 subcontract from the FEA--now the Department of Energy--and that Wilson told a company official that he and Cyr required money for their efforts to "smooth the way" for the contract.
There are no allegations of criminal conduct on the part of the company or its officials and the FEA was unaware of the kickback scheme, Bruce said.
Bruce said in court that Wilson told one of his employes that Cyr was to get $3,000 to $6,000 for his assistance. Cyr and an associate went to Consultants International, Wilson's former business at 1425 K St. NW, to pick up the money in December, according to Bruce. She did not identify the associate.
Bruce told Pratt that Cyr has agreed to cooperate fully with federal prosecutors who are conducting an ongoing investigation into Wilson's activities and the possible involvement of other former and present military and intelligence officials.
Cyr pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of agreeing to receive a gratuity and a second count of receiving a gratuity. He faces up to two years in jail, a $10,000 fine or both on each of the two charges. Bruce said that if Cyr fully cooperates with the prosecutors those charges will be merged, thus reducing the potential penalties.
Cyr, a long-time Capitol Hill lobbyist, was the chief congressional liaison for the Army Material Command during much of the 1960s and 1970s. In the mid-1970s, Cyr, a retired Army colonel and a decorated World War II veteran, became the chief congressional advocate for the FEA and later was deputy director for congressional relations when that agency became the Department of Energy. Cyr was the FEA's director of the Office of Congressional Affairs at the time the offenses occurred.
In a prepared statement released after the court proceeding, Cyr said, "I am ashamed and embarrassed that I have allowed personal friendships and--however slight--personal financial gain to interfere with my duty as a public servant." Cyr now works as a self-employed government consultant.