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Media mogul and banker Allbritton dies at 87

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Joe Lewis Allbritton, a media mogul and owner of the scandal-plagued Riggs National Bank, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Houston. He was 87.

Allbritton died of heart ailments, said Jerald Fritz, a senior vice president of Allbritton Communications.

Allbritton's media empire included newspapers throughout the U.S. Northeast and ABC network affiliates. Allbritton's son, Robert, recently founded the influential political publication Politico.

But Joe Allbritton, a Mississippi native, was famously known for owning and running Riggs, the Washington-based bank that had been a dominant force in diplomatic banking in the nation's capital.

Allbritton's banking career was tarnished when it was revealed that Riggs bank failed to report suspicious activity in the accounts held by former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Equatorial Guinea officials.

Riggs bank pleaded guilty in 2005 to violating anti-money laundering laws and was fined a total of $41 million.

Allbritton did not seek re-election to Riggs' board of directors and the storied bank was eventually acquired by PNC Financial Services.

Allbritton is survived by his wife, son and two grandchildren.

(Reporting By Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Eric Beech)

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