CHICAGO – A fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich who missed arraignments on federal fraud and extortion charges last week was arrested Thursday at O'Hare International Airport, officials said.
FBI agents picked up Antoin "Tony" Rezko without incident, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.
Rezko, 51, failed to show up at two arraignments last Friday. Defense attorney Joseph J. Duffy had told the court that the indictments, unsealed Oct. 11, surprised Rezko and that he was out of the country.
Prosecutors had questioned whether he intended to return from the trip, but government officials said Thursday they believed he had been overseas.
Rezko, who has been described by Blagojevich as a friend as well as a fundraiser, was to appear Thursday afternoon on charges that he fraudulently obtained $10 million in loans from General Electric Capital Corp.
A separate indictment charges him with working with a millionaire campaign contributor to squeeze investment firms seeking state business for kickbacks.
The indictments came more than a year after federal authorities began investigating allegations of fraudulent hiring practices by top officials in the governor's office. The governor has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing.