The newly elected Republican governor denied any wrongdoing and told The Associated Press that "they can look as deeply as they need, to and I encourage them to do so, but there would have been absolutely no influence."
A federal law enforcement official confirmed the FBI probe Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said the inquiry is focusing on what role Gibbons played in awarding contracts to eTreppid Technologies LLC and whether he received any gifts in exchange.
Gibbons said he had not been contacted by the FBI regarding his contacts with Warren Trepp, a longtime friend and owner of eTreppid who contributed nearly $100,000 to Gibbons' campaign for governor.
"I don't think that I have done anything that hasn't been done by others, which is opening doors for businesses in the state of Nevada," Gibbons said.
Trepp, a former chief trader for convicted junk-bond dealer Michael Milken, also has denied any wrongdoing.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that new evidence had emerged in a lawsuit in Reno, involving Trepp and Dennis Montgomery, his former technology chief at eTreppid.
The evidence cited includes e-mails to Trepp discussing a payment or gifts to then-Rep. Gibbons. The e-mails also show Gibbons using his congressional office to help the company seek classified military and civilian contracts, the newspaper said.
"Please don't forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn," Trepp's wife, Jale Trepp, said in a March 22, 2005, e-mail days before Trepp and his wife embarked on the Caribbean cruise with Jim Gibbons and his wife, Dawn, a former Nevada state assemblywoman.
According to the Journal, Trepp responded minutes later saying: "Don't you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!"
Gibbons said he knew nothing about the e-mails and questioned their authenticity, as did Trepp's attorney, Stephen Peek.
"We categorically, unequivocally deny any such e-mails exist or were written," Peek said.
Peek also said that he and client were unaware of an investigation, "other than what we read."
"Warren Trepp was not contacted by any governmental agencies with respect to the allegations," Peek said.
Gibbons, who served on the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, did not disclose the cruise and travel on Trepp's leased private jet, as required by House ethics rules. He later asked the House Ethics Committee for an exemption, but left office before any action was taken.
Trepp's company holds millions of dollars worth of classified software contracts from the Air Force, Special Operations Command and the CIA.