Feds still quiet over Orbital raid - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Feds still quiet over Orbital raid

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Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2005 7:20 am | Updated: 7:52 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The shroud of secrecy surrounding the investigation into Orbital Sciences Corp. continued one day after federal agents raided the defense contractor’s south Chandler plant and Virginia headquarters.

Security remained tight and federal authorities stayed quiet Friday as employees returned to work.

However, on Friday investors of the rocket manufacturer watched Orbital stock plummet before trading started Friday morning.

Orbital officials said federal authorities are investigating possible violations regarding contracting procedures on certain U.S. government rocket programs.

"We do not know the full nature of the investigation but we are going to fully cooperate," said Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski.

Beneski said the company has not violated any laws, but would not comment further except to say the investigation shocked Orbital officials.

On Thursday, authorities shut down offices in Dulles, Va., and Chandler, telling employees to go home.

While it is still uncertain who served the warrant, agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service were seen at the Chandler plant.

The little-known agency is part of Inspector General of the Department of Defense that investigates terrorism, cybercrimes and technology transfers.

Sandy Raynor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, said she could not release any details of the investigation.

However, news of the raids set off an unusually high volume of trading while sending the company’s stock into a spiral before the opening bell.

Shares dropped $2.07 to $8.50 from Thursday’s close at $10.57 before trading began.

The stock was able to rebound slightly by the end of day, closing at $9.66. Orbital officials said the volume of stock traded Friday was five times higher than an average day.

The company, founded in 1982, claims annual revenue exceeding $776 million.

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