Alleged blood diamond financiers tied to Obama Virgin Islands bundler
Marjorie Rawls Roberts, a campaign fundraising bundler for President Barack Obama who lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is tied through several professional and personal connections to alleged blood diamond financiers.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in 2011, former Glacial Energy CEO Gary Mole’s former business partner, Michael Petras, alleged that millions of dollars of the company’s profits were funneled to another firm, Gemico, to “fund mining in the Congo.” Glacial Energy receives tax breaks in the U.S. Virgin Islands through the Economic Development Commission.
The St. Thomas Source, a U.S. Virgin Islands newspaper, reported that International Peace Information Service — a non-governmental organization that criticizes conflict mining and other abuses — spotlighted Gemico as conducting activity suspiciously similar to blood diamond mining, while claiming it is actually mining for tin and other alluvial mineral deposits.
Financial statements that have now become public show Mole’s company made several payments to Gemico, supporting Petras’ allegations that company funds were used to mine blood diamonds. The company has called Petras’ allegations “frivolous,” but has addressed neither the specifics contained in the financial statements nor Petras’ other allegations.
Glacial Energy has not responded to The Daily Caller’s request for specifics.
Current Democratic Virgin Islands Gov. John de Jongh approved Economic Development Corporation tax benefits for Glacial, extending tax breaks for its wealthy owners.
It’s unclear whether Roberts — an Obama re-election campaign bundler who has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for him — helped Glacial Energy get its tax breaks. But she has close ties with one of the company’s executives.
Margie Duncan, Glacial Energy’s director of public and government relations, is clearly acquainted with — and may be closely tied to — Roberts. Photos of the two appear together on Duncan’s Facebook page. And while Roberts is a tax attorney who doesn’t specialize in criminal law, she represented Duncan when a federal agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shot and killed Duncan’s boyfriend.
Special Agent William Clark shot Duncan’s boyfriend, Marcus Sukow, who was in the middle of a domestic dispute. Clark was charged with second-degree murder — charges Gov. de Jongh supported. “These facts are undisputed and were the findings of the local police investigation,” the governor wrote at the time, according to CNN. But both the Obama administration and law enforcement agencies opposed the charges.
Now former acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson — who was promoted into a job at the U.S. Justice Department headquarters as the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has progressed — said Clark had “intervened in a domestic dispute in order to protect a woman that was endangered by her boyfriend. His actions were necessary to save a woman’s life and his own life.”
According to the St. John Source, another U.S. Virgin Islands news outlet, Roberts served as Duncan’s attorney as the criminal proceedings against Clark progressed.
The revelation that de Jongh provided tax breaks to alleged blood diamond financiers isn’t one that will likely sit well with his wife, first lady Cecile de Jongh, the co-founder and vice president of Rwanda Project USVI.
TheDC has already confirmed Cecile de Jongh works for convicted sex-offender and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — who, with Duncan and Roberts, funds Rwanda Project USVI’s operations.
Rwanda is a threatened neighbor to the main source of what are called “blood diamonds,” the war-ravaged and largely ungoverned Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Congolese government’s control of the eastern part of its country collapsed in the early 1990s, when Rwandan Civil War’s defeated combatants fled into that country. Since then, various factions of the losing army, along with other private armies, have used their control of small diamond mines in eastern Congo to fund themselves and their wars against each other, and against the current Rwandan government.
Roberts has helped, or is helping, alleged and convicted financial criminals secure tax breaks. She has connections to Epstein, the convicted sex offender billionaire who operates from his own private island in hte Caribbean. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt did not return requests for comment about whether the campaign will return donations she bundled, given her connection to alleged blood diamond financiers.
The Obama campaign has returned donations to other bundlers when their questionable business activities and connections have surfaced.
Though the Obama campaign continues to accept and keep cash from Roberts, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida hastily canceled a scheduled fundraiser with Roberts after TheDC began revealing Roberts’ ties to financial crimes.
Roberts did not return a request for comment about what official role, if any, she had with winning tax breaks for the alleged blood diamond financiers.