The release of nearly 300 pages of emails belonging to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which shine a spotlight on the crony connections Clinton facilitated between the State Department and her family foundation, highlights a particularly damning Clinton Foundation donor named Gilbert Chagoury.
Chagoury is a wealthy Lebanese construction magnate and longtime friend of former President Bill Clinton. His worldwide exploits were heavily documented in The New York Times bestselling book Clinton Cash, authored by Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer.
In Chagoury, one finds a clear-cut example of how foreign influencers bought access to the Clintons by funneling donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was in command of the State Department.
Here are five of the most devastating facts about one of the Clintons’ closest cronies:
1. Gilbert Chagoury donated nearly a half-million dollars to Democratic party voter efforts before attending the Clintons’ White House Christmas party.
In 1996, Gilbert Chagoury donated $460,000 to a controversial Miami-based Democratic voter-registration group called Vote Now 96. As a foreign citizen, Chagoury is barred from donating directly to elected officials or political parties. But his three contributions of $200,000, $10,000, and $250,000, made in September and October 1996, were completely legal because Vote Now 96 was a nonprofit organization.
Just two months after making his six-figure donations, Chagoury was among the 250 guests who attended the Clintons’ White House Christmas party.
2. Chagoury was convicted of laundering millions.
In 2000, Switzerland convicted Chagoury of money-laundering and “aiding a criminal organization in connection with the billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria during the [Sani] Abacha years” of military dictatorship, according to a PBS Frontline report. Chagoury later entered a plea deal, and the charges were expunged.
3. Chagoury’s name was once on a federal no-fly list.
After the failed Christmas day bombing of an American passenger plane by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in 2010, Chagoury’s name was added to a federal terrorist no-fly list. The billionaire admitted to being an acquaintance of Abdulmutallab’s father, who is a Nigerian banker.
4. Chagoury was named a “kingpin” of Nigerian corruption.
In July 2004, Nigeria’s then-top anti-corruption prosecutor, Nuhu Ribadu, watched as Chagoury’s private jet landed and then, abruptly, took off — allowing the corrupt businessman to escape arrest.
Ribadu’s office spent years building a corruption case against Chagoury, who was once a senior adviser to Nigeria’s longtime dictator Sani Abacha.
According to a PBS Frontline report, “Ribadu says that Chagoury made it possible for Abacha to steal billions of dollars and lined his own pockets in the process.”
5. Chagoury admitted in British court to bribery.
In 2001, the construction magnate confessed in a British court to assisting the family of deceased Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, in transferring $300 million into foreign bank accounts.
Despite Chagoury’s many troubling transgressions, the Clinton Foundation gladly accepted a $1-$5 million donation from the nefarious figure.
It is also worth noting that Chagoury’s company, the Chagoury Group, pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, the same year the Clinton Global Initiative awarded the Chagoury Group its annual prize for “sustainable development.” The money pledged was at the heart of Sen. David Vitter’s (R) probe into whether Chagoury’s cozy relationship with the Clintons played a roll in Clinton’s State Department’s delay of a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation on Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram; an FTO classification would have severely hampered Chagoury’s business endeavors in Nigeria.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson.