Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is blasting an ABC News report that suggests he may have used laundered money to finance his admitted addiction to pain-killing drugs.
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“I have never, I have not laundered any money,” Limbaugh said today on his daily broadcast. “I know who’s behind it; I know what the intent is.”
Limbaugh was responding to a report on “World News Tonight” stating the broadcaster “may have violated state money-laundering laws in the way he handled the money he used to buy the prescription drugs to which he was addicted,” citing law enforcement sources.
Limbaugh returned to his top-rated show Monday following five weeks of rehabilitation after admitting his addiction.
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According to the ABC report, “Authorities say they became aware two years ago, during an investigation of New York bank U.S. Trust, that Limbaugh had taken between 30 and 40 cash withdrawals from his account in amounts just under $10,000. Banks must file a report to the government if someone withdraws more than $10,000 at once.”
The network quoted Jack Blum, an expert on financial crimes, who said, “That in itself is a suspicious activity: They are structuring their transaction to avoid reporting to the government, and the bank is required to file with the federal government something called a suspicious activity report.”
“Now the problem will be: Did he then assist his drug supplier in hiding the proceeds from the government?” said Blum.
ABC reported a decision on whether to prosecute Rush on money-laundering charges would be made in the next few weeks.
Limbaugh wasted no time addressing the allegation, using the first segment of his program to explain the situation.
“I was not laundering money. I was withdrawing money, for crying out loud,” he said.
Limbaugh says U.S. Trust had suggested to him and other customers that cash withdrawals be made in amounts less than $10,000, so the bank would avoid the federal paperwork, and there was no other reason. He also denied the allegation of 30 to 40 withdrawals, saying it was perhaps four or five at the most.
U.S. Trust paid a $10 million fine in 2001 for urging customers to avoid the $10,000 threshold.
“The account that I have is the account that I pay bills out of,” Limbaugh said, citing expenses for travel, food, gratuities and a home-remodeling project.
He stressed it was U.S. Trust, and not himself, that was under investigation for wrongdoing, and he cooperated fully with the probe.
“I complied with every request that was made of me,” Limbaugh said.
While Limbaugh did not mention any names, he said he knew who was behind the ABC report.
“It’s being reported to create a picture that is false,” he said. “I know where this is coming from. This is not a leak. It is the purposeful release of false information.”
“I’m not bothered by it, ’cause I know what the truth is,” he added.
On his Monday broadcast, the first since he entered rehab, Limbaugh summed up this personal lesson he learned during his time off the air.
“I can no longer try to live my life by making other people happy,” he said. “I can no longer turn over the power of my feelings to anybody else, which is what I have done a lot of my life. I have thought I had to be this way or that way in order to be liked or appreciated or understood, and in the process I denied myself who I was, and I denied the other people who I was talking to and relating with who I really am. And that isn’t good.”