Multiple Clinton connections revealed in Panama Papers

Special to WorldTribune.com

Several people who funneled millions of dollars into the campaign war chests of Hillary and Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation are named in the Panama Papers.

The revelations come as Hillary Clinton in a recent speech blasted the “outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting.”

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Getty Images

“Now, some of this behavior is clearly against the law, and everyone who violates the law anywhere should be held accountable. But it’s also scandalous how much is actually legal,” she said.

While the Clintons themselves do not appear to be in the leak of data from law firm Mossack Fonseca, at least five of their associates do.

They include: Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate; Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate who has traveled the world with Bill Clinton; the Chagoury family, which pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative; Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, who was at the center of a Democratic fundraising scandal when Bill Clinton was president; and late billionaire investor Marc Rich, who was an international fugitive when Bill Clinton pardoned him in the final hours of his presidency.

Fialkoff is now a senior adviser to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and director of the city’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. She, her brother, Brett, and her late father, Frank, are listed as shareholders of UPAC Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands offshore company incorporated in June 2012.

The most recent Mossack Fonseca information, from December 2015, shows that the company remains active, registered on behalf of the Fialkoffs in the British Virgin Islands by a Hong Kong-based consulting company on June 6, 2012. Brett Failkoff acknowledged that the company is still “legally alive” but said it does not — nor has it ever — conducted any business.

Gabrielle Fialkoff has been a regular donor to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton and also donated between $250 and $1,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Giustra is the director of UrAsia Energy Ltd, a British Virgin Islands offshore company registered in May 2005. The company wanted to “conduct uranium exploration, development, production and marketing operations and related activities in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan,” according to a draft of the shareholders’ agreement.

UrAsia, based in British Columbia, Canada, finalized a deal in September 2005 to buy uranium mines for $500 million in Kazakhstan, according to published reports. The deal came after Giustra joined Bill Clinton in Kazakhstan for the launch of a Clinton Foundation health initiative and dined with him and Kazakhstan’s president, among others.

The following year, Giustra gave more than $30 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to published reports. Bill Clinton has flown around the world on Giustra’s plane, sometimes with him, including to Kazakhstan.

In 2007, Giustra started an affiliated charity that bears his name and initially kept its donors secret despite a 2008 agreement between the Clintons and the Obama administration to make public the names of foundation contributors.

While Marc Rich’s name doesn’t appear in the Panama Papers, his company does. The Bahamas offshore Industrial Petroleum Limited was registered in 1992, established by the commodities firm Glencore International in Switzerland, deactivated in 2001.

The allegations against Rich, who died in 2013, included tax evasion and trading with Iran that breached a ban on selling oil to South Africa’s apartheid government. He fled to Switzerland in 1983. Before he was pardoned by Bill Clinton, Rich’s former wife, Denise, made a $450,000 donation to Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock.

Also in the Panama Papers is Ronald Chagoury, who along with brother Gilbert leads the Chagoury Group, a Nigerian family-run construction business. Gilbert Chagoury has given to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns and has donated between $1 million to $5 million to Clinton Foundation, foundation records show. In 2003 he organized a trip to the Caribbean, where Bill Clinton was paid $100,000 for a speech.

In 2009, the Chagoury Group pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, an offshoot of the foundation, according to the initiative’s website.

Ng, who leads a real estate development company in Macau, is listed in the Panama Papers as a shareholder of two British Virgin Islands companies — South South News International Group Ltd in May 2010 and GOLUCK Ltd. In 2004.

One of the world’s wealthiest people, Ng was accused in 1996 of sending more than $1.1 million to a Little Rock restaurant owner who then contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee, according to a 1998 Senate committee investigation.

The restaurant owner, Charlie Trie, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws. Ng was not charged. Another congressional report criticized Ng and others for not cooperating during the investigation.

Published reports say Ng visited the White House 10 times from 1994 to 1996, had his photograph taken with Bill and Hillary Clinton, sat beside Bill Clinton at an event at a Washington hotel, and rode in an elevator with Hillary Clinton.

Last year, Ng was charged with bribing a United Nations official and lying about what he was doing with $4.5 million in cash he brought into the U.S. over two years.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has vowed to go after Americans who try to hide their wealth.

“We’re going after all these scams and make sure that everyone pays their fair share here in America,” she said. “I’m going to hold them accountable, and we’re going to have a special effort to track all these resources wherever they might lead.”

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