Former President Bill Clinton attended lunches with clients of a major French bank that has donated up to half a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, according to leaked emails.
In an email about office space, Clinton Global Initiative CEO Bob Harrison told top Clinton Foundation officials to see “whether continuing President Clinton’s participation in European luncheons with major Credit Agricole clients would make a difference” in the bank exercising its option on New York City office space.
Credit Agricole America CEO Jean-Francois Deroche “agreed” to ask their head of investments in Paris a question on Clinton’s involvement in meetings with European clients, according to Harrison.
“As a longshot, I asked him to check with Thierry Simon, the Global Head of Investment Banking in Paris (Deroche’s predecessor), to see whether continuing President Clinton’s participation in European luncheons with major Credit Agricole clients would make a difference,” Harrison wrote in a Jauary 2012 email.
“He agreed to do that,” Harrison wrote in an email published online by WikiLeaks from former Secretary of State John Podesta’ hacked Gmail account.
“We will now pursue other alternatives for space,” Harrison wrote.
French-based Credit Agricole sponsored Clinton Global Initiative annual events from 2009 to 2012, according to CNN. CGI was listed as a “meeting partner” for its 2012 annual meeting, which took place in September.
CGI claims it’s three-day 2012 annual meeting brought together “an array of heads of state, CEOs, non-profit leaders, and other global luminaries made over 150 new commitments, valued at more than $2 billion and expected to impact nearly 22 million lives.”
Credit Agricole du Maroc, the company’s Rabat-based Islamic banking arm, has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation for “CGI activities such as memberships, sponsorships, and conference fees,” according to their website.
The Clinton Foundation has come under fire for taking donations from foreign governments and companies while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton headed the State Department. Some media outlets pointed to Credit Agricole’s past run-ins with regulators.
Credit Agricole, for example, was invested in 2012 for its potential involvement in a scheme to manipulate global interest rates. Not long after, federal attorneys were suspicious Credit Agricole had done business in countries under U.S. sanctions.
“Lisa and I met with Jean-Francois Deroche, the CEO of Credit Agricole (America) today, as a follow-up to our discussion in December,” Harrison wrote in his email. “He said that the deadline for the company to exercise its option on the 37th floor is technically May 2012, but it is trying to decide by the end of this month.”
“He was pretty confident that the company will decline to exercise the option, given the need to reduce expenses in the current environment. If that is the way things play out, Credit Agricole will be obligated to return the 37th floor in February 2013 in the condition it received it, which will necessitate some deconstruction work. He thought the company would need our space back before the end of 2012 (October/November),” Harrison wrote.
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