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Major Clinton and Obama Fundraiser Charged with Fraud


Some will certainly notice the irony in Hassan Nemazee being charged with trying to defraud Citibank, the financial behemoth so many believe victimized our entire economy.

How far he has fallen. The 59-year old Nemazee was national co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid last year, and when she lost he raised money for the man who beat her, Barack Obama. In 2004 he was New York state financial chairman for John Kerry. Most recently he was national chairman of the committee that works to elect Democrats to the Senate, chaired by New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

But on Sunday night, at Newark Liberty Airport, he was stopped by FBI agents just as he was boarding a flight to Rome. Prosecutors say he used "fraudulent and forged" documentation to claim he had hundreds of millions of dollars in net worth, used as collateral for a $74 million loan from Citibank.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Breet Bharara said the assets "either never existed or had been closed years before Nemazee submitted the documents referencing those accounts." The documentation, he went on, included a telephone number Nemazee gave loan officials to verify his information -- a number that was really Nemazee's own.


Even though he paid off the $74 million the day after his arrest, Nemazee was still charged Tuesday night and taken before a federal magistrate, who ordered him placed under house arrest and fitted with an electronic monitoring device. The collateral for his $25 million bail includes Nemazee's $20 million Manhattan apartment.

Nemazee is the chairman and chief executive officer of Nemazee Capital, which invests in a variety of financial endeavors, ranging from insurance and real estate to health care.

President Bill Clinton, whom Nemazee had given active financial support, nominated him in 1999 to be ambassador to Argentina. He was never confirmed.

His arrest follows the conviction in May of another major Democratic fundraiser. Norman Hsu pleaded guilty to charges of illegal campaign donations and operating a $20 million Ponzi scheme. He has yet to be sentenced

Now Hassan Nemazee stands accused of massive fraud. In court, he did not enter a plea. If convicted, the maximum penalty could be 30 years in prison plus a fine.

No comment from the White House, the Clintons or other Democratic leaders.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 26, 2009 1:53 PM.

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