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Key Australian Cabinet Minister Resigns

GRAHAM RICHARDSON, the man who engineered Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's rise to power, has been forced to resign from his Cabinet position.

Senator Richardson, the minister for transport and communications, resigned yesterday to try to stem the political damage to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) because of allegations involving misuse of his political power.

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Richardson headed the right-wing faction of the ALP, which includes the prime minister.

Richardson's downfall came when he wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for his cousin's husband, Greg Symons.

Mr. Symons is reported to have collected $1.25 million from five Taiwanese investors who allegedly were promised Marshall Islands passports.

Under certain circumstances, Marshall Islands residents are allowed residence in the United States. Symons is charged with forging the signatures of Marshall Islands officials. The case is now headed for trial.

Richardson later called the president of the Marshall Islands to ask that Symons be allowed to leave to prepare his defense in Australia. The attempt was unsuccessful.

Richardson will leave his position at a critical time. The Cabinet is due to make a decision on the future of pay television in Australia. Richardson recently returned from a trip around the world to look at pay television systems. Now he will not be part of this process.

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