Former President Bill Clinton appears to have played a role in helping mining magnate Frank Giustra enter into a lucrative uranium mining deal with Kazakhstan. That deal, and the ones that followed, coincided with generous donations to the Clinton Foundation.
What follows is an attempt to organize facts gathered by the New York Times, Newsweek and other news sites into a clear, chronological order.
Late 2004: Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra creates a company to invest in uranium mining called UrAsia Energy Ltd.
June 2005: Giustra meets Bill Clinton at “a fundraiser for tsunami victims at Mr. Giustra’s Vancouver home.” The two hit it off. (Note: Newsweek reports Clinton and Giustra first met in January, not June.)
August 2005: Giustra’s company UrAsia Energy sends engineering consultants to Kazakhstan, which is home to about 20 percent of the world’s uranium supply. Kazakhstan has a repressive government with a poor human rights record and a history of unfair elections. Nursultan Nazarbayev has been its only president since 1991. A 2004 Human Rights Watch report stated, “The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe found that the elections ‘fell short’ of international standards, citing unbalanced election commissions and media bias favoring pro-presidential parties.”
September 6, 2005: Giustra flies former President Clinton on his private jet for stops in three nations. The stops are all part of Clinton Foundation work to grant cheaper access to AIDS drugs. The first stop on the tour, said to be “arranged hastily,” is Kazakhstan. It will be Clinton’s only post-presidential visit to the country.
Clinton then gives a news conference about his AIDS work with President Nazarbayev and afterwards praises him for “opening up the social and political life of your country.” Clinton specifically praises Nazarbayev for pledges he had made weeks earlier to free and fair elections. Clinton suggested this commitment “will be quite influential in what I hope will be a successful bid to be the leader of the OSCE in 2009. I think it’s time for that to happen, it’s an important step, and I’m glad you’re willing to undertake it.” At the time Clinton made this statement, the U.S. government did not support Kazakhstan’s bid for OSCE leadership, citing “serious corruption.”
Also during their one-night stay in Kazakhstan, Frank Giustra tells President Nazarbayev he is seeking a business relationship with Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium mining company. President Nazarbayev replies, “Very good, go to it.”
September 7, 2005: Clinton and Giustra leave Kazakhstan on Giustra’s private jet.
September 8, 2005: UrAsia Energy Ltd. signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Kazatomprom worth $450 million. The New York Times reports that UrAsia went from a second-tier shell company to leading uranium producer overnight. One uranium industry expert tells the Times the selection of UrAsia for the deal is a “mystery.”
November 11, 2005: Zamanbek Nurkadilov, a former Mayor of Almaty who joined an opposition party and threatened to publish documents proving government “high level” corruption in President Nazarbayev’s administration, is found dead. He was shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the head. The government rules his death a suicide.
December 2005: Nursultan Nazarbayev wins another 7-year term as President with 91 percent of the vote. Mr. Clinton congratulated Nazarbayev on the win in a letter which states, “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life.”
Early 2006: Giustra makes a $31.3 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. The donation is kept secret until December 2007.
September 2006: Giustra “co-produces” former President Clinton’s star-studded 60th birthday gala, an event which eventually raises $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.
February 2007: Uranium One, a South African mining company, buys UrAsia Energy Ltd. for $3.1 billion. The head of Kazatomprom has a private, 3-hour meeting with Bill Clinton at Clinton’s New York home to discuss a forthcoming business deal arranged by Giustra. When asked about the meeting by the New York Times, Giustra denied it happened or that he arranged it. When it is pointed out that Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom, has a photo with Mr. Clinton taken inside his home during the meeting, Giustra does an about face. Similarly, a spokesman for Clinton initially denies the meeting took place, then issues a “correction” acknowledging it did.
June 2009: A subsidiary of the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, gains a 17 percent ownership share in Uranium One.
2009-2012: Clinton Foundations records show that Ian Telfer, Chairman of Uranium One, made a donation of $250,000 in 2007, but Canadian records show the actual amount was more like $2.35 million during the time Uranium One was being bought by Rosatom.
June 2010: Rosatom seeks a majority ownership share in Uranium One. Because Uranium One owns mining interests in the Unites States, the deal must be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment. One agency that has to sign off on the deal is the State Department, where Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State.
June 29,2010: The New York Times timeline notes, “Bill Clinton is paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that assigned a buy rating to Uranium One stock.” President Putin reportedly thanked Clinton for giving the speech.
October 2010: Rosatom’s majority ownership of Uranium One is approved. The company’s most valuable assets are the mining rights originally owned by UrAsia Energy Ltd., thanks to the deal reached just one day after former President Clinton left Kazakhstan.