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Dominican lawyer dismisses reports linking him and US senator to prostitution

A lawyer in the Dominican Republic is dismissing allegations that he and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez attended parties with under-aged prostitutes.

Attorney Vinicio Castillo Seman says the allegations published in the U.S. media and on the Internet are part of a smear campaign to scuttle a port security contract sought by a company controlled by a U.S. doctor of Dominican descent, Salomon Melgen.

Melgen is under investigation in the U.S. but the focus has not been disclosed.

The prostitution allegations have received the most attention. An anonymous tipster has circulated emails accusing Menendez of having sex with prostitutes, including at least one who is under 18, in 2009 and 2010 in the Dominican Republic. Some encounters allegedly occurred on Castillo's yacht. Castillo told reporters Monday the allegations are "absurd."

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