Central Pacific Financial received $135 million in assistance from the Treasury Department two weeks after a staff member of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, contacted regulators about the bank's aid application and after the bank's primary regulator had decided the bank didn't meet criteria, the Washington Post reported Wednesday on its Web site.

Inouye helped establish the bank and has invested most of his personal wealth there. Inouye reported holding along with his wife Central Pacific shares worth between $250,000 to $700,000 at the end of 2007.

In a statement, Inouye said an aide had called the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last fall about the bank's application but didn't say if he had requested the aide's inquiry. The aide left a voicemail message with the FDIC asking for confirmation that the agency had received the bank's application.

Inouye said he wasn't trying to influence the outcome of the bank's application under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The FDIC and Treasury both said the eventual approval of the assistance wasn't affected by Inouye's office.

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