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Page last updated at 05:57 GMT, Thursday, 25 December 2008

Bush revokes developer's pardon

President George W Bush, 23 Dec 2008
Mr Bush has pardoned fewer people than Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan

US President George W Bush has taken the unusual step of reversing a pardon he had announced only a day earlier for a New York property developer.

Isaac Robert Toussie, convicted of making false statements to a government department and mail fraud, was one of 19 people Mr Bush pardoned on Tuesday.

But the next day, the White House said the president was reviewing the move in light of new information on Toussie.

This included details of his crimes and political donations made by his father.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the decision to revoke the pardon was "based on information that has subsequently come to light" on the extent and nature of his offences.

She also said that neither the White House counsel's office nor the president had been aware of a political contribution by Toussie's father that "might create an appearance of impropriety".

Once that became known, rescinding the pardon was the "prudent thing to do", she added.

Mr Bush's move followed a report in the New York Daily News that Toussie's father, Robert Toussie, had donated $28,500 to the Republican National Committee in April.

New York media also published reports that Toussie had been taken to court accused of deceiving poor, minority homebuyers and selling low-quality homes at inflated prices with hidden extra costs.

Toussie pleaded guilty in 2001 to charges of mail fraud and making false statements to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He was sentenced in 2003 to five months in prison, five months home detention and three years supervised release, court papers show.

Correspondents say the issue of presidential pardons has become increasingly politicised.

In 2001, a congressional committee investigated the pardon President Bill Clinton granted to the billionaire financier Marc Rich on the final day of his presidency, after it came to light that Mr Rich's ex-wife had made donations to the Democratic Party.

But the pardon was allowed to remain in place.

Mr Bush has granted far fewer pardons than did Mr Clinton and President Ronald Reagan during their terms in office.

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