Thursday, December 16, 2004

Remember Marc Rich?

Our good friend Mike over at Sworn Enemy reminds us of Clinton's pardon of billionare fugitive Marc Rich as B.J. was sliming his way out of the White House? Well, all the evidence isn't in yet, but it looks like Rich was up to his nose in the UN oil for food scam.

Rich, the fugitive Swiss-based commodities trader who received a controversial pardon from President Bill Clinton in January 2001, is a primary target of criminal probes under way in the U.S. attorney's office in New York and by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, sources said.

"We think he was a major player in this — a central figure," a senior law-enforcement official told The Post.
Not only was he a major player, he seems to have been dealing directly with Saddam himself.

In January 2001, in the final hours his presidency, Clinton bypassed law-enforcement and intelligence agencies to wipe the books clean for Rich after being subjected to intense lobbying from former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Rich's jet-setting ex-wife, Denise, who donated more than $1 million to Democratic campaigns — including Sen. Hillary Rodham's first Senate race — along with an additional $450,000 to Clinton's library fund.

Investigators still do not know how recipients of the vouchers led to Rich, but say his relationship with Saddam goes back more than a decade.

A report by the House Government Reform Committee on Rich's clemency deal established that it was well known to the CIA and other U.S. law-enforcement agencies at the time of the pardon that Rich had been dealing with Saddam since the early 1990s — after the Persian Gulf War when Iraq was the subject of an international embargo.

The report, which relied on several classified briefings by the CIA, said Rich loaned money to the cash-strapped dictator in exchange for favorable treatment on oil prices at a later time.
Isn't that special.