LightSquared’s main financer, Philip Falcone’s hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, continues to deny allegations that it tried to bribe a senator into softening an inquiry into its business.
Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley claimed last week that Falcone sent his office an e-mail stating that LightSquared “could be made a ‘win’ for Grassley, LightSquared and the consumer.”
Grassley also said a man affiliated with LightSquared contacted his office and suggested Grassley’s home state could get a call center if the company was allowed to move ahead with its plans to launch a wholesale LTE network in spectrum formerly used for satellite services.
Grassley is a vocal critic of LightSquared’s plans and has been after the FCC to answer questions about why it granted LightSquared a waiver for its service over the concerns of the NTIA and GPS industry.
The waiver blocks LightSquared from deploying its network until it addresses problems with GPS interference. The company has struggled to come up with a fix for the issue and has yet to be given permission to launch.
Harbinger spokesman Lew Phelps previously denied that the company had made any attempt at a quid pro quo, and yesterday the hedge fund released a 13-page document which further defended itself against the senator’s charges.
In it, a Harbinger representative called Grassley’s charges “unsubstantiated,” claimed there was nothing inappropriate about contact between the hedge fund and the senator’s office and charged that Grassley’s staff contacted the media about the allegations without giving Harbinger a chance to defend itself first.
“The problematic presentation of events and conclusions in your letter, coupled with the fact that your staff suggested prematurely to Bloomberg News that they run a story based on them, have reinforced our concerns about the fairness of the inquiry into LightSquared,” Harbinger representative Mark Paoletta from the firm of Dickstein Shapiro wrote in the letter.
A spokeswoman for Grassley replied that his “letter was and is accurate and fully reflects the contact to his office and his subsequent efforts to seek the companies’ perspective before sending his letter. Those efforts prior to the letter were not fruitful, and Harbinger’s attorneys are misrepresenting the facts.”
LightSquared has repeatedly claimed that the government is biased against its mobile broadband plans. It recently claimed that officials had “rigged” tests showing that its network affected GPS receivers.
Filed Under: Industry regulations