Prosecutor: Texaco Tape Partially Erased

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WHITE PLAINS, New York: Parts of a tape recording containing racial slurs uttered by Texaco executives may have been deleted, says a U.S. prosecutor. During subpoena arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stanley Okula told the court that the oil company's independent investigation has uncovered evidence of "purposeful erasures" on the recordings. Okula said that additional charges may be brought against Richard Lundwall, the Texaco executive who originally made the tapes public, if it can be shown that he was responsible for the suspected deletions. Neither Okula nor Lundwall's attorney, Ethan Levin-Epstein, would comment on which portions of the tape may have been tampered with. After the tapes were made public last year, Texaco settled a race discrimination case for a record $176 million, the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history, and subjected itself to workplace monitoring for racial sensitivity. Lundwall and former Texaco treasurer Robert Ulrich were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Both have pleaded innocent to the charges.