Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

According to the Chicago Tribune,  Antoin "Tony" Rezko, one of Obama's main political contributors, was arrested Monday morning for concealing a $3.5 million payment the indicted slumlord received from a Beruit company tied to a certain Nadhmi Auchi, a Iraqi billionaire embroiled in a corruption scandal in France.

I quote:

Antoin "Tony" Rezko was roused at daybreak Monday from his Wilmette mansion by federal agents and ordered jailed by a judge who was disturbed that the politically connected businessman concealed a $3.5 million payment from overseas. ...

Prosecutors alleged the $3.5 million wire transfer to Rezko came from Beirut through a company led by a controversial Iraqi-born billionaire who has controlled banks, casinos, telecommunications companies and pharmaceutical firms spanning the globe.

Nadhmi Auchi, who heads General Mediterranean Holding SA, or GMH, bought about 15 Wisconsin pizzerias from Rezko, court records show, and took a stake in Rezko's most ambitious real estate venture--his effort to develop a 62-acre site at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street.

Auchi participated in more than just Rezko's pizza and property ventures, however; he also contributed to Barack Obama's campaign by donating to a 2005 fundraiser through a company of which is wife is a Director.  I quote the relevant paragraph from a London Times exclusive:

The Times has, however, discovered state documents in Illinois recording that the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA lent money to Mr Obama's fundraiser in May 2005. Fintrade's directors include Ibtisam Auchi, the name of Mr Auchi's wife. Mr Auchi's spokesman declined to respond to a question about whether he was linked to this business.

The donation is significant, for some believe Barack Obama may be one of the unnamed "Illinois government officials" mentioned in the following ABC News report on the FBI affidavit filed in US Attorney Fitzgerald's case against Rezko before Obama's political godfather was arrested on Monday:

According to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, Rezko sought to get a visa for Auchi to visit the United States by contacting "certain Illinois government officials."

Rezko sought the visa on behalf of his friend in 2004, and Rezko helped Obama finance the real estate transaction involving his Kenwood mansion in 2005. We also learn today that Auchi's company has deleted information on two websites regarding Auchi's visit to Illinois in 2004 upon hearing that rumors of a meeting between Auchi and Obama are circulating in the US. 

Why did Auchi donate to an Obama fundraiser in 2005?  Did Obama meet Auchi during the spring of 2004?  What was Obama's role in Rezko's request for a visa clearance for Auchi?  And why did Rezko financially assist the Obama family less than one year later when they jointly purchased property in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago?  

Tags: Auchi, Barack Obama, Democrats, Presidency, Primary, rezko (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

The NY Times broke a story this morning.

by Drummond 2008-01-31 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

How can a corporation - let alone a foreign corporation - donate to a political fundraiser?

by Steve M 2008-01-31 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

Perhaps the company paid for catering and for the rental of the space in which the fundraiser was held.

by truthteller2007 2008-01-31 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

Good freakin' question!

by lonnette33 2008-01-31 10:49AM | 0 recs
Another excellent diary Truthteller2007.

by lonnette33 2008-01-31 10:49AM | 0 recs
Rec'd

by lonnette33 2008-01-31 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

Iraqi billionaire!

Cannot help his own counntry!  instead needs help from our precious troops and OUR MONEY!  

by pate 2008-01-31 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Rezko, Auchi, 2005 Donations

the joke is gonna be if this guy is nominated and then the truth comes out about him and the country turns against him and the democratic party...but sadly that isn't a joke...It is more like a foregone conclusion...

by athyrio 2008-01-31 02:42PM | 0 recs

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