A Jacksonian who has done the best work I have seen in the net regarding the dirty money trail of Obama, Rezlo and Auchi is being strongarmed. AUCHI'S LAWYERS want Kurt to take this down the following post.
KURT wrote Larwyn, "The article that Nadhmi Auchi wants taken down .
As the solicitors have sent me a private pdf email... yes, not even trying to contact me otherwise so as to have a civil conversation about this... I will be responding via a lead-in to the article in the near future."
Fpr all tof he whole OBAMA-REZKO-AUCHI-ALSAMMARAE-MONZER connections, see all the links in his June 17th post, The Fall of the Prince of Marbella (hat tip Larwyn)
Connecting some dots between the candidates A Jacksonian Dumb Looks Still Free
This has been a few months to remember in politics with serious swings up an down on all sides with candidates going from front-runner to no-running and vice-versa in no time flat. Through it all, however, have been some sign posts that have been coming up again and again that, really, have been showing that there is an underlying set of associations between the rich and infamous and the current crop of politicians. Now not all the candidates, it is true, got to hob-nob with these folks, but the trend amongst the front-runners and well financed is interesting.
To start out lets get on with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) smiling his way to the nomination, if only he could shake the pesky associations with the Chicago Mob, its ties to the Democratic Machine and the relationship with one Antoin "Tony" Rezko. It is not everyday that one gets to see a Presidential candidate appear on the witness list of reputed mobster, and we might even get to hear the money exchanges between said mobster, Tony Rezko, Michelle Obama's interest in the neighbor's yard, and a bit of funding coming from the mobster's friend, Nadhmi Auchi, to help pay for the deal so that Mrs. Obama could have some 'gardening space' which would, more or less, include a whole lot next door. A lot owned by the Rezkos. Yes, all sorts of graft, corruption and cash moving around between foreign financiers, local Syrian born mobsters and a Presidential candidate will make one wonder just what the hell is going on. All of this because the friendly financier wanted to be the 'Donald Trump' of Iraqi origin in Chi-town, via land deals featuring lots in upscale areas... or soon to be upscale, at least. And a few folks realized it wouldn't look good to have a Presidential candidate of the 'new and clean' variety get a bit dirtied knowing these sorts of folks, so better to just forget it all, hmmm?
Apparently lots of folks want you to not even think about names like Rezko and Auchi because you just may have a nerve tingling on that letter one. The reason is that Nadhmi Auchi tends to have a *lot* of connections out there, due to his past, which starts with Saddam Hussein and continues on to this day getting to meet Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria via his ties to the British parliament, Anglo-Arab organization. His main claim to infamy... no, wait a second... he has no *single* infamous claim that stands out above the rest. So it is best to start at the beginning and this article from The Observer on 06 APR 2003 (Source: waybackmachine) gives us the quick synopsis of that early life:
In a series of astonishing new developments in a story first broken by this newspaper two years ago, a fresh Observer investigation has discovered that Auchi:
· Was tried alongside Saddam Hussein for his involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate an Iraqi prime minister in Baghdad in the 1950s;
· Used money from military contracts in Iraq to establish a business and banking empire in Britain and Luxembourg; and
· Was employed to pay alleged bribes from Italian companies to win oil contracts in Iraq because of his close links to the regime.
The disclosures have already prompted opposition MPs to demand full details of Auchi's relationship with the Blair government.
Nadhmi Auchi's influence stretches to the highest levels of the British political establishment and he counts princes and presidents among his personal friends. The wealth of the Iraqi billionaire outstrips the Queen and Sir Richard Branson and has given him access to the rich and powerful from Crown Prince Abdullah of Jordan to Lord Sainsbury. He collects prominent former politicians from across Europe as directors of his companies.
Yes, quite the busy life! In the earlier article, that was updated on 16 NOV 2003 at The Observer in which Mr. Auchi responds to the original, we also see some of the other things that went on with Mr. Auchi including being conveniently out of Iraq when Saddam staged his final coup in 1979 and executed 66 Ba'ath party members, including Mr. Auchi's brother. Mr. Auchi would not only include lucrative arms deals via front companies in Panama, but also dealing with the Italian Mafia. This from the report:
In the mid-1980s he got to know Pierfrancesco Pacini Battaglia, a man whose role in directing money to politicians led Italians to call him 'the one below God'. Saddam Hussein had ordered the construction of a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. Battaglia and Auchi secured the contract for a Franco-Italian consortium. In a statement to New York lawyers Battaglia alleged he knew how. 'To acquire the contract it was necessary, as is usual, especially in Middle Eastern countries, to pay commission to characters close to the Iraqi government... In this case, the international intermediary who dealt with this matter was the Iraqi, Nadhmi Auchi.' Auchi has denied any wrong-doing.
The scandals unearthed by the 'Clean Hands' investigating magistrates destroyed a generation of corrupt Italian politicians. But they didn't affect Auchi. He carried on receiving the compliments of Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders, a tasteful water colour from Lord Sainsbury and sober advice from the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.
For those of you who remember the days when Italy seemed to go through a government a year, this was part of the investigation causing the turmoil. So that gets one up to the late 1980's... but Mr. Auchi would continue to be busy, so busy that he would get caught up in a few scandals as seen in this Institute for Ethics and Economic Policy at Fordham University cache of article summaries, from 2003:
LONDON: FRANCE DEMANDS EXTRADITION OF ARRESTED IRAQI BILLIONAIRE FRIEND OF UK POLITICIANS- Nadhmi Auchi the Iraqi billionaire with controversial links to Saddam Hussein's regime was arrested in London this week on a French extradition warrant after two years under British protection. Auchi whose Business Empire is worth more than Pounds 1bn, is expected to appear corruption trial involving the giant oil firm TotalFinaElf. The trial, expected to start next month, will involve testimony about Mr Auchi's alleged role in channeling a pounds 28m commission from the French oil company to buy an oil refinery from its Kuwaiti owners. British politicians linked to Auchi included former Tory chancellor Norman Lamont, former Tory health minister Gerry Malone and former Conservative Home Office minister, Tom Sackville, who resigned from a board of one of the banks Mr Auchi bought into, BCN of Germany. Scotland Yard is quoted as saying Auchi is bailed to appear at a London magistrates Court on April 8, 2003. His business empire is also involved in pounds 27m lawsuit by the National Health Service, which claims one of Auchies pharmaceuticals firms, is one of those that colluded to overcharge the NHS for the drug warfarin. (The Guardian 02 Apr 2003 summary by Davis Joseph Weddi).
He would go on to be convicted of the charges under TotalFinaElf and get 15 months suspended sentence for it. At the 10th International Anti-Corruption Conference Jean-Francois Medard presented a paper on the relationship between Elf, Angola and individuals at the head of the banking concerns involved, like Nadhmi Auchi (and for a not officially published work you can't quote from, it is excellent). The resultant method used to ensure that funds, arms, oil and company assets would not be easily traced is what is termed 'a nebula of networks' and I commonly refer to as person-to-person trust-based networks. As many have heard about jobs 'it is not what you know, but who you know' the exact, same thing goes on for illegal transactions of arms, equipment and money laundering. It is a question of who you know and who they trust who can help lead to getting whatever needs to be done, accomplished. This includes not only the direct p2p network, but also trusted organizations and the individuals in them, so that things like Masonic Lodges (quite the societal networking group for European business and mafioso) in which the establishment, itself, represents a node on the p2p network.
It is this network that would include individuals like Pierre Falcone, Etienne Leandri, Charles Pasqua, Marc Rich, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Nadhmi Auchi and organizations like Elf, the corrupt Menatep Bank of Russia (used by the Abromovich organization) and the Bank of New York system compromised by the Berlin couple and Semion Mogilevich. By exchanging Angolan debt and cash from other parts of the system, the entire affair was able to arrange for arms to be shipped illegal to Jonas Savimbi in Angola. That entire deal, involving so many multiple level 'cut-outs' in the banking structure (between BNP and the corrupt BoNY system), off-shore banks and money transfers (mostly to paper front companies) plus the high level of individuals and organizations ensured that no one would be able to properly figure the whole thing out. Just to be sure, President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich due to his high level of involvement in that and with the Russian Mafia.
Yes a busy 1990's for Nadhmi Auchi that would see, beyond this, beyond his overcharging for medications in the UK and generally making money hand over fist, he would also be involved with the other TotalFinaElf scandal: Oil For Food. This would become Saddam Hussein's main method of money laundering and moving funds outside the oversight of the UN because the UN, quite plainly, lacked the ability to conduct oversight on the entire affair. It says a lot when Saddam was able to tell the UN to use BNP-Paribas which just happens to have Nadhmi Auchi as its largest shareholder. One of the recent sidelights of BNP-Paribas is its takeover of a previous bank used to support Saddam Hussein's regime: Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL). Actually he may have been involved in that, but, as Kenneth Timmerman points out in a 01 NOV 1996 document (Source: gulfweb) it may have had so many high level individuals on both sides of the political aisle involved, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, that the Dept. of Justice let those things that might actually still be prosecutable slide under the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.
What was apparent, however, is that the system that Saddam had been setting up since the 1960's and 1970's to supply Iraq and launder its funds had demonstrated its capability. In the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal of DEC 2000, Amatzia Baram looks at how that system operated on a p2p level and was utilized to undermine OFF and ensure that there would be a supply of arms and munitions for the Iraqi regime, plus funds available for enticing French, German and Russian companies into pressuring their governments to remove the sanctions. On 13 APR 2003 the Times Online (UK) would publish the background on how the system set up by Said al-Mahdi for Saddam worked in the west.
Like the work seen in TotalFinaElf and its 'nebula', the al-Mahdi system would feature numerous offshore companies and accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Panama, Bahamas and elsewhere. The account also links those to the French firms Dassault and Thomson-CSF, along with Russian arms manufacturers that continued to sell to Iraq during the sanctions. Other firms included in this web are Dumynta, Radistal and Technoservice International (Vaduz). The funding web, itself, would go much farther, however, and the reporting of Lucy Komisar on 02 JUN 2004 would show the connections between Saddam Hussein's al-Mahdi system and the Taqwa banking system used by al Qaeda:
The Banca del Gottardo in Lugano, Switzerland, moved al-Qaida money via the Al Taqwa bank, a shell bank that operated through correspondent accounts at the Gottardo branch in Nassau. It also handled payments for the Saddam money network. The bank’s spokesman wrote, “Please be advised that we do not intend to make any comments or discuss any issues with you regarding the article you proposed in your e-mail.”
Banque Paribas, headquartered in Paris, with a significant portion of shares owned by Saddam’s cousin Nadhmi Auchi, moved money for the Al-Mahdi network in the 1980s and was the bank chosen to handle the Iraqi oil-for-food payments. In fact, Iraq insisted that Paribas handle the oil-for-food escrow account.
A corporate document for Al Taqwa Trade, Property and Industry Co. Ltd. of Liechtenstein — an al-Qaida network shell company also shut down by the United States — lists Banque Paribas, Lugano, where it had accounts. (Paribas in 2000 merged with another French bank to create BNP Paribas, with Auchi continuing as one of the largest shareholders.)
This puts Nadhmi Auchi's role in the banking system front and center, having BNP (and then BNP Paribas) serve as the transit bank for funds shifting from the al Qaeda banks of Al Taqwa and for the corrupt Al-Mahdi banks for Saddam Hussein. Saddam had sent his half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti, to Switzerland in 1968 (yes, you read that correctly) to scope out the lay of the financial land as he knew that Iraq would need a method to quietly and untraceably move funds for arms, munitions and other needs, so that Western institutions would have trouble tracking them. She then points to Said Rahim Hussein Al-Mahdi and Nadhmi Auchi as the key operatives sent in after that to establish ties with Said's father-in-law, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and who was already working for Barzan in Switzerland. Nadhmi Auchi's role was to establish multiple offshore companies and accounting systems, and would see the construction of a web of companies that were approximately one sheet of paper deep. Even more fun is that Banca del Gottardo is the subsidiary of the collapsed 'Vatican Bank', which had collapsed due to fraud via offshore companies. Al-Mahdi himself, however, would not resist temptation to skim funds and was executed in 1986 by beheading in Iraq.
Marc Rich, who had been indicted for tax evasion to the tune of $48 million dollars and illegally trading in Iranian oil after the revolution there, was *also* a part of this network. The Kroll report would detail the links between Marc Rich and Iranian banking sources and the ability to use those in shifting funds through the al-Mahdi and Al Taqwa systems. Before the 'Clean Hands' investigation in Italy, a previous Italian report had detailed the following:
After Roger Watson in 1987 became Saddam’s financial consultant, he also became an adviser to Auchi’s International Company of Banking and Financial Participations (CIPAF). According to official Italian documents, Auchi used Panama to launder kickbacks for two contracts for the Iraqi military. An Italian parliamentary report in 1987 said that one of them, Dowal, set up by Watson, was used to collect $23 million in hidden commissions on Baghdad’s purchase of warships manufactured by the Italian shipyard, Cantieri Navali Riuniti.
This sophisticated system of bribes, kickbacks, overcharges, offshore banks and companies would exist *before* the OFF scandal broke and *before* the Bank of New York penetration a bit less 6 years later by the Red Mafia. Nadhmi Auchi was no stranger to large scale financial fraud by the time OFF rolled around, to say the least, and had his own network clearly set up when the Red Mafia added its capability into as seen from the Angolagate material above. For a time the largest criminal and underground network for financial transactions and illegal purchases spanned from the Bank of New York (done by the Ivankov gang with help of Semion Mogilevich), trading in the largest industrial money laundering scheme seen in Trans World Commodities run by the Chernoy brothers and with the most complex schema of paper companies ever seen (or unseen) done by Simon Reuben, shift funds via BNP Paribas system to and from Iraq (my look at this part of the Red Mafia is here), Iran and al Qaeda, and include the burgeoning natural gas empire being shifted over to Dmitri Firtash in Ukraine (my look at DF Group is here). This banking and funds transfer system literally spanned the globe, reaching all the way to bank affiliates in China and Japan, to Australia, and across Africa and South America all the way to San Francisco and Vancouver, BC. While BCCI may have been a forerunner of this, it is dwarfed by orders of magnitude by this combined system and the complexity of it remains so opaque that multiple individuals running it remain not only free but uncharged with *anything* because no one in securities and banking investigation can figure it out. Or, as Jules Kroll points out, no one wants to figure it out.
To get an idea of how the Al Taqwa system worked there is the testimony of Steve Emerson before the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, looking at this problem of terrorist funding, on 12 FEB 2002. He goes through the informal p2p ethnic systems like the Hawala system (my previous article on that and the Black Market Peso Exchange system is here) and then goes on to the more formalized Al Taqwa banking system:
Al-Taqwa was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1988 in the Bahamas and later in 1991 in Algeria, as the beginning of —establishing a world bank for fundamentalists“ aimed to compete with Western financial institutions.64 Al-Taqwa reportedly has other branches in Liechtenstein, Italy, Malta, and Panama with its headquarters in Switzerland. As a world bank for fundamentalists, al-Taqwa was open to money laundering with a number of terrorist organizations, most notably al-Qaeda and, in the past, Hamas.
Al-Taqwa enabled al-Qaeda‘s financial network to obscure its paper trail by transferring money from one al-Taqwa branch to another. French Intelligence officials claim that by 1999, the bank was channeling funds for Osama Bin Laden.65 A Swiss investigation that started in 2000 revealed that al-Taqwa transferred funds for Bin Laden from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to al-Taqwa‘s affiliates in Malta and then on to Switzerland and the Bahamas.
He then goes on to describe how institutions obscure their past via name changes, shifting of connections and other means so as to remove those prior connections from current institutions. Then by utilizing the paper companies and institutions offshore, the money trail becomes harder and harder to trace. After that he looks at HAMAS' Al-Aqsa Bank, Beit al-Mal, and its working with Citibank via Joint Ventures. Finally he examines the purely p2p courier system, for securely moving documents and cash via trusted routes and individuals outside of the banking system.
It is *that* system that was added on to the Al-Mahdi system of Saddam Hussein. As Lucy Komisar reports on 15 MAR 2002, this Al-Taqwa system was going on to the knowledge of the FBI for 4 years and it was only 9/11 that drove them to actually start looking at shutting it down.
Now to catch up on *another* scandal of Nadhmi Auchi, and that is the Clearstream scandal. Clearstream is, or was, the trusted financial transaction system for Europe to exchange currencies during financial moves overseas. This system, in theory, had its own safeguards to ensure that each financial transaction was from a reputable source, covering a reputable company with assured funds. Unfortunately it didn't work out so well and was compromised by the Bank of New York system and was then utilized by the likes of Auchi for shifting OFF funds through it via less than reputable banks and companies. This was part of the reason he was prosecuted by France on the Elf deal, as TotalFinaElf was also involved in the oil shipment end of Oil For Food.
And that my friends is just the tip of the iceberg. Go here for the full post.
Previously at Atlas: Obama Partied with Crook Rezko & "taste for blood" Saddam hatchet man Auchi
UPDATE: A Jacksonian updated his seminal post with this:
This article has received the attention of the subject of the article and his solicitors in the UK. As they have asked for the email to be kept private, and very strange that I get a pdf and not even a polite asking to speak with me, I will address some of the generalities they bring up. That is to keep in the spirit of the correspondence and yet address their concerns as much as possible.
First off, let me say that I am a United States citizen, born in the US, lived and worked in the US, now disabled in the US, writing in the US, and have this lovely low-traffic blog in the US that gets the ability to be read worldwide. If having readers in the UK makes me published in the UK, then that is true of Iran, Kenya, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, and quite a few other places. I really don't keep track of who reads me or from where. Indeed, given such things as the TOR network, any attempt to filter traffic would, as the Chinese are finding out, prove well neigh impossible.
I will point out that when I utilize a blockquote or indent, I am utilizing a quotation from another source, that I link to. I also try to do that thematically, so that the same color holds to a source, but there are only a limited number of colors that I find pleasing to read, so a careful reader needs to pay attention to source citation and linkage.
From there I will say that I found The Observer article referenced to be very fascinating including the give and take between the subject of the article and The Observer, as the subject had specific points of contention that he brought up. And The Observer was addressing those. There was some problem between their original publication date, in 2001 and the subject bringing up his problems with the article. At the time, unaware that there was a lawsuit ongoing, I linked to the information brought up by the subject with The Observer. In my two extracts, I utilized 176 words and 165 words from the article for a total of 340 words, which I considered to be 'fair use' under US standards. The electronic media, being unlike print media in which linked material can be brought up to examine a discussion, video or other interplay by the reader allows for such linking to put the reader into the position of determining if I am giving a fair analysis of the material.
That fair analysis included reading the original, the subject's response and the response to that.
Part of that give and take is allowing there to be a record of what was inaccurate and how such things get published. At the time, being unaware of legal proceedings and taking what was happening as an interplay between the subject and The Observer I utilized a web cache for the historical document being referenced as many of the larger media systems tend to age or pull down articles on a regular basis. There is little way for a reader to know if there is a lawsuit starting up or not, or if that is part of the regular shifting of articles. Thus I considered that I had given fair use of content, linkage to both parts of a dispute and review of both the original article, the subjects protest and the rejoinder. This includes all parts of it that I had cited, and I did my best to ensure that other articles linked to in my article had distinctive research outside of The Observer, in particular the work of Kommisar and Kommersant.
Do note that I did the exact, same, thing with regards to the later Financial Times article and the subject's problems with it.
The next point of interest is in the lack of reading ability by the solicitor and/or the subject: at no point in my article do I say or impute that the subject gave money to Sen. Obama's campaign funds of any sort.
With regards to having talked or spoken to Saddam Hussein: BNP-Paribas certainly had discourse with the Government of Iraq during the late 1990's as it was the chosen source for selling oil under the Oil For Food program. As the subject has a substantial investment in BNP-Paribas during the Oil For Food scandal, it is difficult to see how there could be no gain, connection or understanding that funds gained under that system would benefit the subject. For said subject to have no connection to it he must have no interest, investment or seek no gain from such things and ensure he is isolated from them via non-investment in said financial institution. Do note that the subject is cited via linkage as being the largest shareholder out of that union of banks. While a minority it is, apparently, the largest minority.
Read the rest here.