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  First Lady Returns Dubious Donation

The Associated Press
Saturday, Oct. 30, 1999; 3:41 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON –– Hillary Rodham Clinton has returned a $1,000 check from a foreign-born donor because the money is linked to a business with possible ties to organized crime in Bulgaria.

"Questions were raised about the source of the contribution and the check was returned," Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the first lady's Senate campaign, said Saturday.

The questionable donation came from Darina Pavlova, a naturalized U.S. citizen who is married to Ilia Pavlov, a U.S. resident alien. Pavlov is chief executive of Multigroup, Bulgaria's largest private holding company.

Multigroup is alleged to be linked to criminal activity in Bulgaria, although no formal charges have been filed, according to U.S. News & World Report, which cited a confidential cable sent by the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria to Washington officials.

Mrs. Pavlova made the donation during an Oct. 22 fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in Washington. About 300 people attended the event, including several celebrities. Mrs. Pavlova came to the party with an invited guest, Wolfson said.

Mrs. Clinton's campaign returned the money a week later, shortly after an inquiry by the magzine. Wolfson, however, said all donations are screened to ensure they are legal and appropriate.

Earlier this year, Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York, Mrs. Clinton's likely opponent in the Senate race, returned a $2,000 donation after learning it came from the son of slain mob boss Paul Castellano.

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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