One-degree of separation: The "Nadhmi Auchi Scrub Gallery" grows ... again - April 22, 2008
The Nadhmi Auchi webscrubbing continues. Martin Bright of The New Statesman reported April 22, 2008,
that the UK's Guardian/Observer "has been forced to pull down five articles about Nadhmi Auchi,
the Iraqi businessman convicted of fraud in France in 2003.
Auchi has been on the warpath since his name was connected with Tony Rezko, the Illinois fundraiser currently
on trial in America, who was one of Barack Obama's earliest backers. In the UK, The
Times has been pursuing the story with impressive tenacity."
Here is list of the articles. Bright plans to post links from elsewhere on the internet, so
check back to the original article link.
# 1. "Labour blocks extradition of Iraqi tycoon", Observer, February 2, 2003
# 2. "Billionaire linked to Labour arrested in London", Guardian, April 2, 2003
# 3. "So, Norman, any regrets this time?", Observer, April 6, 2003
# 4. "Tycoon in quiz over ties to Labour", Observer, April 6, 2003
# 5. "Politics of sleaze", Observer, November 16, 2003 # 6. "MP questions Iraq role of Briton tainted over Elf"
(this has also been titled "British fraudster to profit from Iraq contract"), Observer, November 16, 2003
Obama surfaces in Rekzo's federal corruption case -
Source confirmed Obama is the unnamed "political candidate"
referred to in document which outlines case against Rezko
For the first time, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has surfaced in the federal
corrupton case against his longtime campaign fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
The Illinois senator isnt accused of any wrongdoing. And theres no evidence Obama knew contributions
to his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign came from schemes Rezko is accused of orchestrating.
The allegations against Rezko that involve Obama are contained in one paragraph of a
78-page document filed last month in which prosecutors outline their corruption and fraud case against Rezko,
who was also a key money man for Gov. Blagojevich and other politicians.
Rezko is set to go to trial Feb. 25. The revelation that Obamas name could come up in court is a
political headache he doesnt need as he heads into a round of primaries that are likely to determine his
partys nomination for president.
Obama is not named in the Dec. 21 court document. But a source familiar with the case
confirmed that Obama is the unnamed political candidate referred to in a section of the
document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle
state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in sham finders fees.
From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obamas successful run for the Senate in the name of
a Rezko business associate, according to the court filing and the source.
Guardian, Observer agree to remove defamatory articles on British tycoon
British sister publications agree to withdraw inaccurate reports on Nadhmi Auchi.
LONDON British sister newspapers The Guardian and The Observer have agreed to delete six articles
on British tycoon Nadhmi Auchi from their Web content and databases as
part of a settlement in a defamation case.
The British papers also pledged to contact Web search engines to inform them of the
Follow the Money: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Part 2
Based on testimony given March 20, 2008, by star witness Stuart Levine in the federal fraud trial
of indicted political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko, RezkoWatch expanded on the possible guest list for
the April 3, 2004, dinner at Chicago's Four Seasons hotel arranged by Rezko on behalf of Iraqi-British
billionaire businessman Nadhmi Auchi.
Based on this new information, the guest list includes, of course, the guest of honor, Nadhmi Auchi
(left in photo), and the host, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (center in photo), as well as the following:
# Aiham Alsammarae (convicted of major theft-Iraq)
# Christopher Kelly (recent suicide0
# Jack Lavin (now top aide to Gov. Quinn)
# Stuart Levine (jail)
# Pat Quinn, Lt. Gov. of Illinois (Gov. of IL) # Rita Rezko
# Tony Rezko (jail)
# Michael Rumman
(Related: Who is protecting Aiham Alsammarae and why?"
RezkoWatch, Illinois blogger Bill Baar, 77WABC Radios John Batchelor, OpEd News contributor Evelyn Pringle, Pundita,
World Net Dailys Aaron Klein, and a number of others would like to know why it is
that Chicagos own resident international fugitive and former Iraqi minister of electricity, Aiham Alsammarae,
convicted by the Iraqi government in October 2006 for the theft of $650 million of Iraqi reconstruction funds,
U.S. tax dollars, that is, and wanted by Interpol as recently as April 26, 2008, is not
in jailor at least answering questions.
Who is protecting Alsammarae and why?
Baar pointed out that Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) had written
a letter to the U.S. Treasury addressing concerns about corruption in Iraq and the very real
possibility that unknown amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars destined for reconstruction in Iraq may have wound up in
the hands of the same militias in Iraq that our troops are having to engage in combat.
All it takes is a hearing Senators, Baar commented.
Who is protecting Alsammarae and why?
In the comments to RWs article, Baar also stated that the sad thing about the
Alsammarae story is so many people in the Administration and Obamas campaign (and
his supporters in Congress!) have an interest in keeping the story buried.
Who is protecting Alsammarae and why?
As John Batchelor reported March 3, 2008, Alsammarae was still wanted by the Iraqi government. On April 10, 2008,
Batchelor wrote that Alsammarae had been sighted around the last week of March in the first-class
lounge at the Queen Alia International Airport at Amman, Jordan. Although seen in
the company of Jordanian plain-clothes security men, he did not enjoy the protection of Iraq.
On April 26, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that an outstanding Interpol warrant for Alsammarae
remains active, but U.S. authorities have shown no interest in arresting him and that
the State Department declined to comment why he had not yet been arrested.
The next day, on April 27, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times stated that Alsammarae was not only NOT
in custody by U.S. or Iraqi authorities but had actually made a personal appearance at
the federal courthouse in Chicago to put up three of his properties as surety for his
friend and business partner, Tony Rezko.
If Aiham Alsammarae is not being returned to Iraq to complete his sentence or to be retried,
and if he is not being detained or questioned by U.S. authorities, the most likely conclusion
is that he is being protected in this country as well as several others in the Middle Eastwith the
obvious exception being Iraq.)
Additionally, on his website, Auchi posted this now-deleted narrative about his 2004 visit to
Illinois and Michigan in addition to a number of photographs, which have also been removed.
Herein are named three other individuals who attended the "reception": Emil Jones, Jr., President of
the Illinois State Senate; Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit; and L. Brooks Patterson, Chief Executive Officer
of Oakland, Michigan.
This photograph of Emil Jones, Jr., with billionaire investor
Nadhmi Auchi points to an interesting tale about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Jones. In a
biographical series about Obama's remarkable ascendance on the U.S. political scene, the
Chicago Tribune reported
Long before maverick Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald decided not to run for re-election in 2004, Obama approached
his mentor, Emil Jones, who was preparing to lead a new Democratic majority in the state Senate.
"You're a very powerful guy," Obama told Jones.
"I've got the power to do what?" Jones responded.
"You could help elect a U.S. senator," Obama said.
Jones asked his protege if he had anyone in mind.
"Yeah," Obama replied. "Me."
Obama's ambitions for higher office were an open secret in Springfield, but trying to make
the leap to the U.S. Senate seemed a long shot. He was an unknown
to most Chicago voters, let alone to those in the rest of the state. His loss to
Rush was so lopsided even Obama described it as "a spanking."
He couldn't count on the support of some prominent Black Caucus members, including Hendon.
In a recent interview, he said Obama was so ambitious that if the position were up for a vote, Obama would
run for "king of the world."
Obama formally announced his campaign in January 2003, more than a year ahead of the primary.
Jones, of course, was there. Link, Walsh and Jacobs (see below) also attended, illustrating
that his support transcended the black community.
Hendon and Trotter (see below) were a tougher sell. Jones eventually got them to endorse Obama. Hendon
said it took "seven or eight" talks with Jones before he finally decided to go along. And,
Hendon said, he only did it out of loyalty to Jones.
Obama wasn't expecting the endorsement of either Trotter or Hendon. He asked Jones how he pulled it off.
"I made them an offer," Jones recalled telling Obama. "And you don't want to know."
# The Chicago Tribune wrote that "Link, Walsh and Jacobs" were Obama's poker-playing pals: "blunt-talking
Denny Jacobs from the Quad Cities, and Larry Walsh from Elwood, whose 'aw-shucks' demeanor belied
deft political skills. ... Terry Link of Waukegan, who also was Lake County Democratic chairman."
Additionally, Sen. Rickey Hendon is a "streetwise West Sider nicknamed 'Hollywood' who
once hoped to be a movie producer" and Sen. Donne Trotter "the Democratic point man on budget issues.
In 2000, Trotter and Obama vied to unseat U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, but didn't come close to toppling
the South Side congressman."
Viewed in the light of his newly-launched campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from Illinois, and
the presence of both his political patronRezkoand his political mentorJonesthe
chances that Obama may have dropped in at this particular reception at the request of
his friend Tony Rezko increase winningly.
Obama's Auchi Problem
Who is Nadhmi Auchi and why is he important to Barack Obama? Let's take a look.
Contrary to Obama's persistent claims, he indeed did favors for Tony Rezko, including this one:
"While Mr. Obama was running for the Senate, Mr. Rezko was also raising money for a
huge development in the South Loop of Chicago, often playing host to dinners
in a private room at the Four Seasons Hotel here.
"Former Rezko associates said that Governor Blagojevich attended one of the dinners, and
that at Mr. Rezko's request, Mr. Obama dropped in at one for Middle Eastern bankers in early 2004,
just as he was starting to pull ahead in the Senate primary. The visits, Mr. Rezko's
partners said, helped impress foreign guests.
"'I remember that he had been on the campaign trail, and he was completely wiped out and exhausted,'
said Anthony Licata, a lawyer who represented Mr. Rezko on real estate deals. 'My recollection
is that he drank ice tea, and he talked about how he was really making progress, and we were all
excited to see him.'"
Last March, I asked: Was Nadhmi Auchi there?
Stuart Levine's testimony on Monday didn't answer that question, but no matter. Levine testified that
both Barack and Michelle Obama attended a reception Rezko held at his Wilmette home for Auchi. "News reports
from the courtroom said Mr. Rezko wanted to impress Mr. Auchi, who ultimately poured nearly $170 million
into the real estate venture," the New York Times reports.
"Mr. Rezko's lawyers have raised questions about Mr. Levine's credibility on other issues, and Mr. Levine
offered few details on Monday about the party at Mr. Rezko's house. Mr. Levine said Mr. Obama's wife,
Michelle, was there. Mr. Obama's campaign said she had no recollection of the event. Mr. Auchi's
lawyer, Alasdair Pepper, has said that his client does not remember meeting Mr. Obama."
The Sun-Times, however, reports that "according to two sources familiar with the gathering, the Obamas attended
the Wilmette reception, which came less than a month after Obama's Democratic primary win for
his U.S. Senate seat."
Let's be clear then: The Obamas attended the Rezko party, and it's not like Auchi
was just another guest. He was the guest of honor. The party was for him, as part of
Rezko's effort to get him to invest in a real estate venture in the South Loop.
Surely Obama would know the purpose of a party and why the guest of honor was the
guest of honor (even as he somehow didn't know that Rezko had slum properties in
his state senate district at the same time).
So that is established. Now, why does it matter?
First, who is Nadhmi Auchi?
A lot of folks have been asking that question.
Short story: He's a controversial Iraqi-born, British billionaire who,
according to one report, "set up a variety of deals with Saddam Hussein's
regime prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and was one of the largest private
shareholders in BNP Paribas, the bank that trafficked most of the funds involved in the UN
Oil-For-Food scandal. He also admitted taking kickbacks from the French petroleum
company TotalFinaElf in the 1990s (Auchi later sued Elf for entangling him in their criminal activities,
according to Forbes)."
Auchi is apparently still appealing a 2003 fraud conviction in France. He
visited Chicago and Detroit in 2004, but wasn't allowed back in the country in 2005.
"Prosecutors in Mr. Rezko's case have said that Mr. Rezko asked Illinois officials to help obtain a
visa for Mr. Auchi's visit to Chicago," the Times says. "The officials
have not been identified, and Mr. Obama's campaign has said he was not involved in that effort."
Let me ask you a question:
You're Tony Rezko and you've bankrolled Barack Obama's entire political
career. You helped him buy his house and you and your wife socialize with him and
his wife. You've held a reception for a potential investor to which you invited Obama,
who had just been elected to the United States Senate, to impress your business partner.
And you appeal to Illinois officials to help him get a visa. Are you telling me you do
not ask for Obama's help?
Obama's campaign says the senator "does not recall" meeting Auchi.
There's a lot he didn't "recall" about Rezko either for quite awhile.
You know, like actually knowing him.
Not hard to imagine where the millions of campaign donations and the illegal foreign contributions to
0's warchest came from and how our country is being sold down the river.
This despicable blight on our country, .. endangering us exponentially, destroying our precious American way
of life was purchased outright by evil people who wish us ill.
I pray for my country and our brave military suffering under these indescribable conditions..