Friday, August 28, 2009

WhoWhatWhy: Behind Clinton Backer's Arrest: A Bipartisan, International Affair

/PRNewswire/ -- reports exclusively today on the background of Hassan Nemazee, the top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who was arrested this week and charged with forging loan documents in order to borrow $74 million from Citibank. He could face up to 30 years in prison.

Early media accounts cast the event as an embarrassment for Ms. Clinton and the Democratic Party involving the financial misdoings of one prominent backer. Actually it is much more.

As WhoWhatWhy reports:

Behind the Nemazee arrest lies a sprawling cautionary tale of presidents, would-be presidents, and the shadow world of wealthy operators who cozy up to them for their own gain. It reaches into the Bush operation as well as that of the Clintons, and is a microcosm of an influence bazaar that has gone global along with the economy.

Hassan Nemazee, who served as a finance director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, began raising sizable sums for the Democratic National Committee in the mid-nineties. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton's legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends.

Through their Carret Asset Management, Nemazee and his business partner Alan Quasha gave a job to Clinton confidant and former Democratic Party chairman Terry MacAuliffe, providing him with a lucrative temporary perch until the Hillary Clinton campaign formally launched with McAuliffe as its chairman.

But Nemazee has historically donated money to both political parties. Meanwhile, Quasha's Harken Energy company helped engineer George W. Bush's rescue from financial disaster and propelled Bush on the path to elective office. Harken Energy drew intense scrutiny from investigators and the media in the early 90's and again during Bush's first term because of its dubious financial practices and board members connected to the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Nemazee's family is tied to the Shah of Iran, and others in their circle have connections to the Saudi royal family and the former Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos.

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