Apparently little "transparency" can be found in this murky "corruption" scandal involving a President attempting to secure a political dynasty, according to today's front-page NY Times story by Jo Becker and Don Van Natta, Jr.:
Records show that Mr. Giustra donated the $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months that followed in 2006, but neither he nor a spokesman for Mr. Clinton would say exactly when.Will the OSCE, under Kazakhstan's leadership, send monitors to keep an eye on our American elections and the activities of the Clinton foundation--or provide anti-corruption training sessions for President or Mrs. Clinton and their staff?
In September 2006, Mr. Giustra co-produced a gala 60th birthday for Mr. Clinton that featured stars like Jon Bon Jovi and raised about $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.
In February 2007, a company called Uranium One agreed to pay $3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia, would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.
That same month, Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said he traveled to Chappaqua, N.Y., to meet with Mr. Clinton at his home. Mr. Dzhakishev said Mr. Giustra arranged the three-hour meeting. Mr. Dzhakishev said he wanted to discuss Kazakhstan’s intention — not publicly known at the time — to buy a 10 percent stake in Westinghouse, a United States supplier of nuclear technology.
Nearly a year earlier, Mr. Clinton had advised Dubai on how to handle the political furor after one of that nation’s companies attempted to take over several American ports. Mrs. Clinton was among those on Capitol Hill who raised the national security concerns that helped kill the deal.
Mr. Dzhakishev said he was worried the proposed Westinghouse investment could face similar objections. Mr. Clinton told him that he would not lobby for him, but Mr. Dzhakishev came away pleased by the chance to promote his nation’s proposal to a former president.
Mr. Clinton “said this was very important for America,” said Mr. Dzhakishev, who added that Mr. Giustra was present at Mr. Clinton’s home.
Both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Giustra at first denied that any such meeting occurred. Mr. Giustra also denied ever arranging for Kazakh officials to meet with Mr. Clinton. Wednesday, after The Times told them that others said a meeting, in Mr. Clinton’s home, had in fact taken place, both men acknowledged it.
“You are correct that I asked the president to meet with the head of Kazatomprom,” Mr. Giustra said. “Mr. Dzhakishev asked me in February 2007 to set up a meeting with former President Clinton to discuss the future of the nuclear energy industry.” Mr. Giustra said the meeting “escaped my memory until you raised it.”
Wednesday, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, Ben Yarrow, issued what he called a “correction,” saying: “Today, Mr. Giustra told our office that in February 2007, he brought Mr. Dzhakishev from Kazatomprom to meet with President Clinton to discuss the future of nuclear energy.”
Mr. Yarrow said his earlier denial was based on the former president’s records, which he said “show a Feb. 27 meeting with Mr. Giustra; no other attendees are listed.”
Curiously, Frank Giustra's name shows up among the list of 2004 donors to Canadian MP Belinda Stronach ($2,500), a former Conservative who changed parties. Reportedly herself heiress to a mining fortune and contributor to the Clinton Library, Stronach is rumored to have been romantically involved with the former President.
Interesting commentary on this story from retired LA Times reporter Ken Reich:
Why did the New York Times endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination when it had a story in the works suggesting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, took a huge bribe from a Canadian mining magnate in exchange for helping him to close a Kazakhstan uranium mining deal?Here's an interesting tidbit for NGO-watchers from The Vancouver Sun's profile of Giustra:
Giustra, the son of a Sudbury nickel miner, was CEO of Yorkton Securities in the '90s, founder of Lions Gate Entertainment and now chair of Endeavour Financial, a merchant banking firm which finances mining companies.
Giustra is also a director of the International Crisis Group (Crisis Group), an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization, established to prevent and resolve conflicts...Giustra's wife is Alison Lawton, 36, a human rights activist and producer of documentary films on humanitarian crises. She also knows Clinton and has worked with him on humanitarian efforts related to the civil war in Uganda -- a war which was the subject of her recent documentary Uganda Rising.