US

More Clinton Connections Emerge In Panama Papers

(REUTERS/Adrees)

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

A slew of new connections have emerged between the Clintons and companies that used offshore accounts set up by the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Some of the names found in the Panama Papers, which were reviewed by McClatchy Newspapers, have been tied to the Clintons in other scandals.

They include Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who was a major focus of last year’s expose, “Clinton Cash.” A company started by Marc Rich, the international fugitive who was pardoned by Bill Clinton, is also included among the 11.5 million Panama Papers trove. As are two firms tied to Ng Lap Seng, the Chinese billionaire implicated in a major donor scandal involving the Clintons and the Democratic National Committee.

There is no mention of the Clintons in the Panama Papers, McClatchy reports. But the appearance of several shady businessmen with Clinton connections comes as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has criticized Hillary Clinton for pushing for the passage of the Panama Free Trade Agreement as secretary of state.

Sanders, who opposed the trade pact, has said that the agreement made it easier for corporations to utilize tax shelters set up in Panama. The 74-year-old democratic socialist has also asserted that Clinton opposed the trade agreement when she was in the Senate but flip-flopped after taking over the State Department.

The ties are also a reminder of just how many relationships the Clintons have developed with shady businessmen over the years.

One such link stems all the way back to the Clintons’ Arkansas days. As governor, Bill Clinton met twice with Jean-Raymond Boulle, a diamond miner born in Mauritius. After the meetings Clinton granted Boulle mining rights in a state park near Hope, Ark., Clinton’s hometown.

According to McClatchy, Boulle was listed as director of two firms listed in the Panama Papers: Auk Limited, which was listed in the British Virgin Islands, and Gridco Limited, which was registered to the Bahamas.

According to Peter Schweizer, the author of last year’s “Clinton Cash,” Boulle was invited to Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. At a party after the inauguration, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton donned a 3.5-carat diamond culled from one of Boulle’s mines, according to Schweizer.

Another mining company appears in the Panama Papers.

Giustra’s UrAsia Energy was registered in the British Virgin Island in May 2005, according to McClatchy. That September, Bill Clinton flew with Giustra on his private jet to Kazakhstan, where the Canadian hoped to secure a $500 million deal for uranium mining rights in the Central Asian nation. Clinton and Giustra met with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Before leaving the country, Clinton publicly praised Nazarbayev, who was up for re-election.

The mining deal was awarded to UrAsia. Months later, Giustra made a $30 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation. The pair later formed the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.

A Russian businessman who was reportedly involved in setting up Clinton’s trip with Giustra is also linked to companies named in the Mossack Fonseca records.

Sergei Kurzin is tied to several oil companies listed in the papers, according to McClatchy. The mysterious financier — who reportedly pledged $1 million to the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative and gave at least $50,000 directly to the Clinton Foundation —  has several connections to players in the Clinton world. Besides dealings with Giustra, he also helped Marc Rich develop business relationships in Russia.

On his last day in the White House, Bill Clinton pardoned Rich, who had been indicted by the U.S. government in the 1980s for tax evasion. The controversial move came after Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, contributed $1 million to the Democratic party, $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, and $450,000 to Clinton’s library.

Rich’s Industrial Petrolium Limited appears in the Panama Papers. The company was registered in the Bahamas in 1992.

Ng Lap Seng also used Mossack Fonseca’s services. According to McClatchy, he’s listed as a shareholder of two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Ng is the Chinese billionaire who in 1996 was accused of funneling $1.1 million to the Democratic National Committee through a restaurant owner in Little Rock. The restaurant owner pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. Ng, who visited the White House nearly a dozen times in the mid-1990s, faced no charges. He was charged last year with bribing a United Nations official.

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