BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An independent arbitrator has ordered the state of Louisiana to pay $6.5 million in disputed film tax credits to Malcolm Petal, who was convicted of paying off the state's film commissioner in exchange for millions of dollars in tax credits based on inflated expense reports.

The Advocate reports a Feb. 12 letter from the arbitrator directs the state Department of Economic Development, which oversees Louisiana's film incentive program, to issue the credits to Petal within 10 business days.

Former film commissioner Mark Smith pleaded guilty in 2007 to taking $67,500 in bribes to help Petal secure about $1.3 million in tax credits for filming live music festivals. Smith was sentenced to two years in prison.

In 2009, Pearl was sentenced to five years in federal prison for bribing Smith.

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