Pardongate: Bill Clinton, on his Final Day in Office, Pardons 450 Criminals, Including FBI ’10 Most Wanted’ Billionaire Mark Rich who Bought his Freedom

While most presidents grant pardons throughout their terms, Clinton chose to make nearly a third of them on January 20, 2001, his last day in office. This came to be known as Pardongate. While Clinton pardoned a large number (450) of people compared with his immediate predecessor Republican George H. W. Bush, who pardoned only 75, the number of people pardoned by Clinton was comparable to that pardoned by Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Jimmy Carter, who pardoned 406 and 566 respectively.

The FBI requested a Public Corruption investigation into former President Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich, his partner Pincus Green and a redacted donor to the Democratic Party. According to the request “” as precursors to the pardons. (“DOJ rules and regulations governing the issuance of pardons requires that the pardon attorney at the DOJ receive a formal pardon application to commence a pardon investigation. That investigation would include contact with the respective U.S. Attorney’s office and investigative agencies. Based upon the findings of that investigation, a recommendation is made by the pardon attorney to the White House for the President’s review and consideration.” Former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder testified that he was “the only person at DOJ notified of the pardon sought by Rich. Holder was contacted directly by Jack Quinn, Marc Rich’s attorney, and former White House Counsel.”

Tellingly, a month later Eric H. Holder, DOJ Deputy Attorney General, and David J. Kappos, IBM chief intellectual property counsel and Obama’s appointed Patent Office Director on Aug. 07, 2009., both advised Professor James P. Chandler’s Trade Secrets conference on Mar. 28, 2001.

Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White was initially appointed to investigate the pardon of Marc Rich, but she was later replaced by cover-up artist James Comey, who found no illegality on Clinton’s part.

Who is Marc Rich? And why did he need a presidential pardon?

Born in Belgium to Jewish parents, Marc Rich moved with his family to the United States to escape Hitler. Young Marc soon went to work for a commodity firm in New York called Phillip Bros, later acquired by Salomon Brothers. He soon made his mark as an oil trader and, along with his friend Pincus “Pinky” Green, he is credited with inventing spot market trading in oil, ferrous metals and sugar. Billions flowed into the firm, and the European press took to calling Rich “the Aluminum Finger.”

But Rich and “Pinky” Green felt underappreciated and underpaid. They bolted the firm, and Rich angrily vowed to “grind Phillip Bros. into oblivion.” In 1974, the pair started their own holding company, eventually known as the Marc Rich Group, and began making oil deals with Iran, Iraq and wildcatters in Texas. He and Pinky were soon billionaires and big shots in the global petrochemical trade.

Around this time, Rich courted a buxom young Jewish singer/songwriter from Worchester, Massachusetts, named Denise. He whisked her off to his seaside villa in Marbella, Spain, where the couple were married and rapidly assumed the life of international jet-setters and art collectors. It is said that Rich owns one of the largest private collections of Picasso paintings and sculptures in the world. Rich began referring to himself as a “business machine.” The years passed. Denise bore Rich three daughters and honed her songwriting skills on transcontinental flights on the family’s private jet. Saccharine pop flowed off her micro recorder , including minor hit “Frankie.” The bank accounts swelled.

Then in 1983 crisis hit the Rich family. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York notified Rich and Pinky that they were under investigation for fraud, illegal oil deals with Iran and the apartheid regime in South Africa, and tax evasion. Documents were subpoenaed. Indictments were in the works. Rich hired D.C. heavy-hitter Edward Bennett Williams to fend off assaults of a vicious young prosecutor – none other than Rudy Giuliani.

When Giuliani requested that Pinkyand Rich turn over their passports and post a large bond, Williams acted indignant and personally avowed to the federal judge overseeing the case that his client was not a flight risk. Two days later, Pinky and Rich were on a plane bound for Europe. As expected, the indictments came: a 65-count charge alleging fraud, trading with the enemy (Iran), and tax evasion.

Humiliated, Williams resigned in a huff, and Rich found a succession of new lawyers over the next decade, including former Nixon attorney Leonard Garment and Lewis Scooter Libby, who would later find refuge in the awesome power of presidential privilege.

Rich’s escape from Giuliani’s clutches is the stuff of spy novels, made even more thrilling due to the fact that he almost certainly had several moles inside Giuliani’s office, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies who kept him apprised of the schemes to nab him. He evaded the U.S. marshals on his tail at Heathrow Airport in England, and then later his plane bound for Finland mysteriously turned at the last moment for Sweden, once again narrowly avoiding landing in custody. Years later, Rich would also escape his captors in Germany and Jamaica, courtesy of anonymous tips to the fugitive billionaire.

The tycoon’s eventual passage to safe harbor in Switzerland went from Sweden through East Germany, aided by the notorious Wolfgang Vogel, an East German lawyer who specialized in shuttling spies into and out of Eastern Europe.

Rich dropped millions at every stop, especially in Switzerland. He and “Pinky” Green choose the town of Zug to establish their new headquarters in a blueberry-colored office tower. Entreaties were made to Swiss officials, and money liberally dispensed.

“He bought Swiss loyalty,” says Shawn Tulley, a financial crimes reporter for Fortune magazine, who covered the Rich case. “He really put out the charm and the money.” When the U.S. Marshals finally tracked Rich down in Switzerland, they immediately petitioned the Swiss government for his extradition. Request denied. As far as the Swiss were concerned, financial crimes, especially involving taxation, were trifling concerns unworthy of governmental consideration.

When the Swiss refused to turn Rich over, the Marshals tried to kidnap the world’s most famous tax evader under the extraordinary rendition program, which has since become a staple of the Bush regime.

The Marshals set up a team outside of Rich’s mansion and his offices. But again, there was a fortuitous leak. The Swiss police approached the would-be kidnappers and told them to shut down their operation or they would be the ones sitting in jail. The Marshals retreated. Rich had found his sanctuary. He summoned Denise and the children to join him in sprawling mansion near Lucerne and then renounced his U.S. citizenship. This freed him from the nagging obligation of ever again having to worry about entanglements with the IRS over tax obligations. But it also threw the validity of his eventual pardon into question.

The exile of Marc Rich was not an idle one. Indeed, from 1983 to 1996 Rich’s fortune ballooned from a mere billion dollars to more than $7 billion. He and Pinky struck oil deals in Russia and Bulgaria (prompting accusations of fraud and thievery in both countries) and mining operations in central Asia, Africa and South America. Along the way, he sharpened the art of the political bribe. Rudy Giuliani alleges that during this period Rich tried to bribe the state of New York, offering millions to the State Department of Education in exchange for a withdrawal of the pending charges.

In order to buy alumina from the new leftist government of Jamaica for less than half the market price, Rich wired $50 million to Jamaican President Michael Manley in an hour of acute distress for the embattled ruler.

Even as he neared the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, Rich also didn’t see any reason to abandon his operations in the United States. In fact, his hand is seen orchestrating one of the most savage crackdowns on organized labor in recent decades. In 1989, Rich secretly acquired the controlling interest in a West Virginia-based company called Ravenswood Aluminum. Ravenswood was embroiled in a tumultuous battle between management and workers at the plant when in 1990, under Rich’s long-distance orders, the company tried to bust the union. On a bitterly cold night, a private security force arrived at the plant, set up armed guards at the gates and surveillance cameras around the perimeter of the facility, and locked out 1,700 workers, all members of the Steelworkers Union. Over the ensuing weeks, the armed guards repeatedly clashed with picketing union members, fogging the air with tear gas and beating skulls with their police clubs. Soon Rich made the call to hire permanent replacement workers, for less pay and reduced benefits. The lockout went on for two more years. “It was a brutal affair,” says Dan Stidham, president of the Ravenswood union local at the time of the lockout. “I’m still pretty upset with Clinton for pardoning that guy after all we went through.”

Meanwhile, back in Lucerne, Rich was beginning to cultivate the Israeli government. He established the Rich Foundation in Tel Aviv, which would distribute more than $100 million to Israeli causes over the next decade. To oversee the foundation, Rich selected a former high-ranking Mossad official named Avner Azulay, whose ties to the intelligence agency probably never totally evaporated. Azulay was a useful conduit to Israel’s political elite. He was close to Yitzak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert. A decade later, Azulay would play a key role in securing Rich’s pardon from the Clintons.

Through Azulay, Rich offered his services to the Israeli government, especially the Mossad. Indeed, according to letters from Israeli officials, Rich played the role of a “Say-Ayon,” or unpaid asset of the Mossad. In fact, Rich was subsidizing Israeli intelligence operations (more here). He financed numerous covert missions and allowed Mossad operatives to work covertly in his offices around the world.

[box type=”note” ]Judicial Watch’s obtaining a confidential cable from the U.S. Department of State that had been under tight wraps since 1995. The cable – from Clinton’s ambassador to Israel to his high-ups at State – reveals high-level Israeli efforts to persuade State Department officials to intercede with Department of Justice (DOJ) to enable Rich to conduct Israeli business affairs worldwide directly relating to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Specifically, the cable, obtained through a Judicial Watch June 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, provides details of 1995 efforts by apparently top Israeli officials to pressure their counterparts at the State Department to intervene with the DOJ to withdraw outstanding arrest warrants against Rich on charges he had violated America’s 1981 domestic oil-price along with 64 other crimes, including racketeering and “trading with the enemy.” Israel, it turns out, had recruited Rich, then living in Switzerland, to travel internationally in order to raise funds to finance economic deals between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.  Rich died on June, 26, 2013, and Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about him with the Department of State on the same day.

While the Israeli official who interceded on Rich’s behalf is not identified in the cable obtained by Judicial Watch, he or she was in a sufficiently high-level position to confer directly with then-U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk and Clinton administration Middle East convoy Dennis Ross. The official was also able to persuade Indyk to meet with Rich’s lawyer, Isaac Herzog, just three days after requesting that he do so. The confidential classification of the cable was extended by the State Department on February 10, 2014 for an additional 15 years, following the Judicial Watch FOIA request, in an apparent effort by the State Department to keep the names of the Israeli official confidential. Ambassador Indyk is now President Obama’s Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

In the cable, entitled “[REDACTED] REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION WITH DOJ ON BEHALF OF MARK [SIC] RICH,” Indyk writes:

    • During August 29 [1995] meeting with Dennis Ross and I, [REDACTED] raised the issue of Mark Rich, a wealthy businessman now resident in Switzerland, whom [REDACTED] has recruited to head up an effort to promote private sector involvement in Palestinian economic development. [REDACTED] asked me to see Rich’s lawyer, Isaac Herzog, to be briefed on the subject. He further requested that Dennis and I follow up in Washington to try to resolve the problem.
    • Rich paid a large fine and according to Herzog, DOJ is no longer pursuing the matter … Nevertheless, there are still international warrants outstanding for Rich’s arrest. This severely restricts his travel … [REDACTED] request is that State consider the project and, if it is regarded as worthwhile, contact DOJ and communicate its interests in enabling Rich to engage in these activities – specifically that:  … The GOI [Government of Israel] has notified State that it is in the GOI’s interest to facilitate the travel on behalf of Mark Rich to advance the ‘Economic Solution’ … The U.S. has a legitimate interest in fostering these objectives.

Interestingly, the Indyk confidential memo clams that the U.S. ambassador, who at the time had been a key figure in American-Israeli affairs for more than a decade, had no knowledge of Rich or the activities that had led the commodities trader 1983 indictment. According to Indyk’s confidential memo, “We have never heard of Mark [sic] Rich and have no way of evaluating his ability to contribute to this effort by bringing in foreign investors.” The ambassador added, “However, [REDACTED] is pushing him hard.”

On January 20, 2001, just hours before leaving office, President Clinton granted Rich a highly controversial presidential pardon. It was widely alleged at the time that Rich’s pardon had been the result of Denise Rich having given more than $1 millionto the Democratic Party, including more than $100,000 to the Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton and $450,000 to the Clinton Library foundation. As far back as 2009, journalist Joe Conason, writing in Salon had conjectured, “Winning the pardon was a top priority for Israeli officials because Rich had long been a financial and intelligence asset of the Jewish state …” But the confidential cable obtained by Judicial Watch is the first solid evidence of the usually close ties between the Israeli government and the fugitive financier.

The bottom line is that the cable raises salient new questions about the depth and breadth of the relationship between Marc Rich and the Israeli government. And they suggest possible new insights into the motivations behind the scandalous last-minute pardon granted by Bill Clinton. Ambassador Indyk should now disclose what he knows about the Rich pardon. As should John Podesta, Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton – all high-level Obama appointees embroiled in the Rich pardon scandal. (JudicialWatch)[/box]

With experience as an international spook now added to his C.V., Rich reached out through intermediaries to both the FBI and the CIA. He offered his services to both agencies in exchange for dropping the charges against him. The CIA’s response is unknown, but the FBI was intrigued and sent the request to the Justice Department, where it was quashed.

Around this time, Rich launched into a public liaison with a glamorous Italian widow by the name of Gisela Rossi. He flaunted the affair in front of Denise, the tycoon’s wife who had followed him into his luxurious life on the lam. Denise filed for divorce and prepared to return to New York. But Rich, whose net worth now neared $10 billion, was offering her only a tiny settlement. So Denise took matters into her own hands. She removed a Van Gogh painting from the wall of their palace in Lucerne and warned her estranged husband that unless he ponied up more money, she would take the masterpiece with her. Ultimately, Rich offered her a settlement of $200 million. Although the amount is far less than she would have gotten in most U.S. courts, Denise signed the papers and took her daughters with her back to Manhattan.

Rossi and Rich soon married and now divide their time between St. Moritz and Marbella, Spain.

A year after the Rich’s divorce, their oldest daughter, Gabriella, was diagnosed with a rare and terminal form of leukemia. She died within the year. Marc Rich made no effort to visit Gabriella in her final months. Denise Rich seethed.

Pardon Me

The machinations to secure a pardon from Bill Clinton for Marc Rich began in earnest in the fall of 1998, when Rich’s public relations flack in the U.S., Gershon Kekst, squirmed his way into a seat next to Eric Holder, the number two in the Clinton Justice Department, at a gauche D.C. party thrown by Daimler/Chrysler. Without mentioning Rich by name, Kekst asked Holder how a man of considerable resources might be relieved of the burden of being “unproperly indicted by an overzealous prosecutor.”

Holder took a sip of wine and told Kekst that such a man would need to hire a D.C. lawyer who knows the ropes and has deep connections inside the Clinton administration. “He comes to me and we work it out,” confided Holder.

“Can you recommend such a person?” Kekst inquired.

Holder pointed to a man sitting at a nearby table. “There’s Jack Quinn,” Holder whispered. “He’s a perfect example.”

Kekst dutifully wrote down Quinn’s name, did some research on the former lawyer for the Clintons, and transmitted the joyful news to the Rich camp.

There is every indication that Holder was trying to drum up business for Quinn, a partner at the powerhouse firm of Arnold and Porter, as well as a top advisor for Al Gore’s presidential campaign. Holder was desperate to have Quinn’s backing in his doomed bid to become attorney general.

Back in Switzerland, Rich ordered up a dossier on Quinn. His initial response was not favorable. Rich believed Quinn to be merely a “pretty boy” with little experience and “more connections than clout.” He decided to stick with Scooter Libby’s team. But Scooter, who had represented Rich since 1985, produced no results, and in the summer of 1999, with the clock ticking down on Clinton time, the desperate tycoon reached out to Jack Quinn.

Quinn formally became Rich’s lawyer on July 21, 1999. His fees were stiff: an initial retainer of $355,000, plus a minimum payment of $55,000 each month. Quinn’s firm, Arnold and Porter, reserved the right to represent clients suing Rich on matters. Rich consented.

Initially, Quinn intimated to the Rich team that securing the pardon would be a relatively easy matter. A few calls to his good friend Eric Holder, and that would be that. Quinn was wrong. When Holder contacted the prosecutors in Manhattan about the Rich case, they vowed to oppose any deal until Rich returned to the U.S. and entered a plea in the case. Rich refused.

From that point on, the Rich team, including his sympathizers inside the Clinton administration, hid their maneuvers from federal prosecutors.  After discussions with White House aides Bruce Lindsey and Beth Nolan, Quinn sent out an email calling for a new approach: “It’s time to move on the GOI [Government of Israel] front but we have to get the calls initiated over there.”

Letters and calls soon flooded the White House from Israeli officials and high profile Jews, including Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and Elie Weisel. In one way or another, each had received benefits from Rich or one of his foundations. A problem soon developed. When presented the opportunity to discuss presidential pardons with Clinton, many of these leaders, anxious perhaps to legitimize Israeli penetration of the U.S. government, choose to plead the case of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard instead of Rich.

Quinn scrambled comically for a solution. Quinn sends an urgent email to Robert Fink, Rich’s longtime New York lawyer.

From: Jack Quinn. To: Fink, Robert, NY.

“Hope you’re checking email; I don’t have access here to avner’s email address, or marc’s, and wonder if you can inquire whether there is a possibility of persuading Mrs Rabin to make a call to POTUS [President of the United States]. He had a deep affection for her husband. “

Fink leaps into action with an email to Avner Azulay, the former Mossad officer, now heading the Rich Foundation in Tel Aviv.

From: Fink, Robert, NY. Sent: Saturday. To: Avner Azulay

“… Jack asks if you could get Leah Rabin to call the President; Jack said he was a real big supporter of her husband…”

Azulay writes back with distressing news.

From: Avner. To: Fink, Robert, NY.

“Bob, having Leah Rabin call is not a bad idea. The problem is how do we contact her? She died last November … ’’

Eventually, Quinn secures a letter and congenial phone call to Clinton from Rabin’s daughter, who doesn’t really know Rich. Their best hopes seem to be evaporating. Perhaps Rich was right about Quinn, after all.

First Catch Your Foxman

The scene shifts to a crowded restaurant in Paris. It’s Valentine’s Day. Two men are having dinner and drinking wine. They know each other well. One man has just received a $100,000 contribution from the other man’s boss. The man on the receiving end of the money is Abe Foxman, and the financial gift was for his group the Anti-Defamation League. The man picking up the hefty dinner tab is Avner Azulay – though Marc Rich will soon reimburse him.

Rich has one last shot, Foxman advises. They need to get directly to Bill and Hillary. And the key to unlocking the inner doors of the White House, Foxman told Azulay, is Denise Rich. Foxman confided that he and Denise had flown together on Air Force II to the funeral of Yitzak Rabin.

There was just one problem. Denise Rich still loathed her husband.

Entreaties are made to Denise, now a New York socialite and successful songwriter, by Quinn and others on the Rich teams. Three times  “Denise Rich declines to come to the rescue of her former husband.

Then suddenly, in November 2000, she agrees to help. What made her change her mind?

That remains open to speculation, but given Marc Rich’s history and Denise’s view that she was shortchanged in the divorce, it may well have involved a financial offering. This much is known. On November 16, Avner Azulay flies to New York and takes Denise to dinner. He pleads for her to back Rich’s pardon to her friends Bill and Hillary. Two days later Denise consents.

Denise calls her close friend Beth Dozoretz for help in the best way to handle the matter. Another rich Manhattan socialite, Dozoretz had been the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Dozoretz had contributed more than $1 million to Democratic coffers. Bill Clinton was the godfather of her daughter.

Dozoretz who, like Denise Rich, would later plead the Fifth at a Senate hearing in the matter, helped Rich craft her strategy. Almost immediately, a check for $25,000 was sent from Denise Rich’s account to the DNC. This was soon followed by Denise Rich’s first letter to the Clintons, imploring them to pardon her ex-husband. Dozoretz also helped Rich bundle a $450,000 contribution to the Clinton library fund. (A Democratic fundraiser told the New York Times in 2001 that Denise had also pledged another million in four installments over the next two years. This figure was disputed by Denise Rich. But the donor lists to the Clinton Foundation are kept secret.) In all, Denise Rich made at least $1.1 million in contributions to Democratic causes, including $70,000 to Hillary’s Senate campaign and PACs, and at least $450,000 to the Clinton foundation.

For her part, Dozoretz kicked in another million of her own money to the fund. This is the same library that now refuses to release more than 300 pages of Clinton’s records relating to the pardon. She later lavished gifts on the Clintons as they left the White House, including antique furniture for the new home and golf clubs for Bill.

As Dozoretz and Denise Rich plotted their strategy, Quinn and Azulay sought another opening. In a December 19, 2000, email to Quinn, Azulay emphasizes the importance of Hillary’s role in the affair. She has just been elected senator from New York, where Rich was indicted. If there was to be fallout, it might backfire on Hillary. She would need reassurance. Dozoretz and Denise would provide financial aid, but she might also need political cover. Azulay recommends Abraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset. “Burg is on very friendly terms with Hilary (sic) and knows POTUS from previous contacts.”

The next night there’s a party at the White House honoring Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou. Dozoretz and Denise are invited, and Denise lands a plum seat at the presidential table. Denise is wearing a burgundy ball gown trimmed in fox fur. She eats little and talks less. After dinner, Denise espies Bill having an intimate conversation with Streisand. She rushes across the room, cuts in on Babs and whisks Bill away. She makes an impassioned plea for the ex-husband , who had humiliated her, stuffs a letter into Bill’s hand and whispers, “I could not bear it were I to learn you did not see my letter.”
When Denise arrives home, she makes a call to Lucerne. It’s the first time she has talked to Marc Rich since the divorce. She describes her meeting with Clinton. Her friends say she ended the conversation by telling Rich: “You owe me.”

A week later the Rich team is getting antsy. There’s still been no word on how Hillary feels. Rich’s New York attorney Robert Fink sends an email to Quinn: “Of all the options we discussed, the only one that seems to have real potential for making a difference is the Hillary option.”

Quinn, Dozoretz, Burg and, perhaps, Denise call Hillary’s people. They are told that the senator needs cover. According to a December 26 email from Azulay titled “Chuck Schumer”: “Hillary shall feel more at ease if she is joined by her elder sen. of NY, who also represents the Jewish population.”

Gershon Kekst leaps at the opportunity, firing an email to Fink looking for Schumer’s pressure points:

“Can Quinn tell us who is close enough to lean on Schumer?? I am willing to call him but have no real clout. Jack might be able to tell us who the top contributors are … maybe Bernard Schwartz??”

Bernard Schwartz was a good guess. The former CEO of Loral (a Friend of Bill and Marc Rich) was a top DNC contributor and had lavished money on both Schumer and Hillary. Schwartz also donated $1 million to the Clinton library fund.

But Quinn had been around Washington a long time. He knew enough not to trust Schumer, a famous media hog who was already showing signs of being jealous of the attention Hillary was getting. Quinn notes: “I have to believe that the contact with HRC can happen w/o him after all, we are not looking for a public show of support from her.”

Calls continue to flood the Clinton White House. The King of Spain. Sandy Berger. Ehud Barak.

Meanwhile, Denise and Beth are skiing in Aspen. Beth’s phone rings. It’s Bill Clinton. Clinton tells Dozoretz, “I want to do it and am trying to get around the White House counsel.” Keep praying, Bill told the women. He also let them know that Michael Milken wasn’t getting a pardon.

A few days later, the two women are back in Washington. It’s now January 19, 2001. Jack Quinn is sitting at a board meeting of Fanny Mae. He quietly types a message to Denise on his Blackberry. (It’s not known if he bills both clients for this hour of his time.) The text message urges Denise to make one last call to Bill. Quinn tells her not to “argue merits” but merely to explain to Clinton that “it is important to me personally.”

Though both women will later dispute it, the Secret Service logs show that the next afternoon at 5:30, Beth and Denise were admitted to the private quarters of the White House. This was Denise’s nineteenth visit to the White House. Beth had visited the White House 76 times in merely the last two years. The logs do not record when the women departed. This is the encounter that appears to have consummated the pardon.

At 2:30 in the morning on January 20, Clinton gets a call from his National Security Advisor. Marc Rich’s name has surfaced in an intelligence file in connection with an international arms smuggling network. Clinton calls Quinn. Quinn says the allegations are bogus. Bill turns to his staff, all of whom oppose the pardon that is now being signed. “Take Jack’s word,” Clinton snapped. Later Clinton will claim to have been “sleep deprived” when he signed the pardon, an excuse that his wife would resurrect to explain her fabulation of her landing under sniper fire in Bosnia.

Marc Rich bought his pardon and, until his death in 2013, flew freely around the world in his private jet, while Leonard Peltier (a long-time political prisoner) languishes in prison with no hope of release. That pretty much sums up Clintonism for me.

Marc Rich was wanted for a list of charges going back decades. He had traded illegally with America’s enemies including Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, where he bought about $200 million worth of oil while revolutionaries allied with the Khomeini held 53 American hostages in 1979.

Rich made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il-sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself. Little surprise that he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.

As Judge Abner Mikva, a counsel in the Clinton White House and mentor to President Obama, noted that even Obama “was very, very dismayed by the Marc Rich pardon and the basis on which it appears to have been granted.” Eric H. Holder, who had testified to be the only one notified at the DOJ of the outlandish pardon, was confirmed by the Senate as Barack Obama’s choice for Attorney General on Mar. 27, 2009.

Even Bill Clinton eventually admitted that the pardon had been “terrible politics.” “It wasn’t worth the damage to my reputation,” he said. But while the pardon was a political mistake, it certainly was not a financial one. In the years following the scandal, the flow of funds from those connected to Marc Rich or the pardon scandal have continued to the Clintons.

Hillary has variously said that she was “unaware” of the decision and “surprised” by it. When pressed, she merely cackles. Even though 300 pages of core documents relating to the pardon decision remain under seal at the Clinton Library, a review of the available record tells a much different story. In fact, the Rich legal team viewed Hillary as a “secret weapon,” and as one door after another closed on their search for a pardon they focused more and more on invoking what Rich lawyer Robert Fink called the “HRC option.”

Rich died in 2013. But his business partners, lawyers, advisors and friends have showered millions of dollars on the Clintons in the decade and a half following the scandal.

Sources: Counterpunch; Breitbart News

From Sherman H. Skolnick’s Report:

Starting back in 1954 was a brilliant, high-strung, humor-less speculator. His real name was Marc Reich, but to disguise his foreign-descent past, he called himself Marc Rich. He knew how to trade a cyclone in usual and unusual metals, grains, and other items from the earth’s crust. And how to make money and shipments disappear through the dark and tax-neutral and tax-haven hole, such as the Netherland Antilles. Oil embargoes such as against Iran in 1979-80, because of the U.S. hostage mess, did NOT effect HIM.

To preserve his secrets he apparently never fired any of his underlings. Supposedly they were paid even when they did not function well anymore. So the American CIA needed to pay for a domestic or foreign political assassination? No problem. Marc Rich arranged it through smuggled or stolen gold bullion. [A similar CIA gold trader living in a Chicago suburb, was assassinated on the day we fingered him in 1995 on our popular public access Cable TV Program. Mellow with age, John Tarullo, friend and tool of Archbishops, and top FBI and CIA officials, talked too much. As a teenager, he was a pilot for Benito Mussolini, the Italian strongman.]

Omitting Marc Rich’s espionage role, but otherwise useful for background is the book, “Metal Men- Marc Rich and the 10-Billion-Dollar Scam” by A. Craig Copetas, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, N.Y., N.Y., 1985. To write the book, the author became a metal and commodity trader and infiltrated Rich’s circle.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her globe-traveling law partner and reputed lover, Vincent W. Foster, Jr., were implicated in domestic and overseas money laundering. Secretly a top espionage operative long before his short tenure in the Clinton White House, Foster traveled with tell-tale government- rate airfare. He, and Hillary and their crony Webster Hubbell, former Little Rock Mayor and once Acting Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice, were strategists for a reputed worldwide spying-on-banks, as against both friend and foe, for Systematics, in the bank computer software services field. Bank computer espionage “trap-doors” were their specialty. We were about the first to finger Systematics, headquartered in Arkansas, and some of their front stooges tried, with no success, to scare us into silence. The National Security Agency, NSA, file on Foster and Systematics linked Hillary, Foster, and others, in many hundreds of pages of documents, but as available to the public, mostly redacted, blanked out to outsiders.

Marc Rich the commodity bandit and “spook” was so interwoven with the White House of George Bush The Elder and later, Bill Clinton, you could not hardly tell whether the White House dirty tricks department was in Washington or Zug, Switzerland, one of Rich’s outposts. To escape being prosecuted, Rich did not return from Zug to face the big-time Federal Criminal music in the 1980s. At the time the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudolph W. Giuliani (later N.Y. city Mayor), wanted to put Rich in jail. A Bush Family confidant, Giuliani nevertheless found out too late that Marc Rich was the American CIA’s laundry man and was immune. When Rudy started to run for U.S. Senator from New York against carpetbagger Hillary Clinton, in the year 2000 Election, she was afraid he would mouth off about her and Foster and Marc Rich. So, Hillary’s press agents reportedly launched a pre-emptive strike planting details publicly of Giuliani’s marital troubles. And so, Rudy side-stepped the whole mess and the Election, by divulging what he must have already known, that he was ill with cancer.

The book author described him, “Marc Rich, the man whom the United States Justice Department privately called the most corrupt corporate executive in America”. [“Metal Men“, page 13.] After he took refuge in his Switzerland offices, the oil-soaked monopoly press, protective of high-level swindlers, agreed to be mostly silent. By 1990, Rich was a key player in the huge, mostly unpublicized Russian ruble affair, an attack by the American CIA and worldwide banks fronting for them, against the Soviet currency which led to the downfall of the Moscow government. The result was the dissolution of the Soviet Union into fighting-with-each-other provinces, each a fiefdom for mineral exploitation and speculation, Marc Rich’s specialty.

Another George Bush The Elder/American CIA darling was a fellow originally from Wisconsin, Leo Emil Wanta. He played a key role in the attack on the Russian ruble to topple the Moscow gang. A CIA-friendly author, the late Claire Sterling wrote a book, a form of mixed and mixed up report on Wanta. “Thieves’ World- The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime“, Simon & Shuster, N.Y., N.Y., 1994. As she described it, “The fact that scarcely anyone outside Russia has heard of the Great Ruble Scam may be explained partly by its seemingly unbelievable details, but partly, too, by Western reluctance to touch exquisitely sensitive political nerves.” (Page 177.)

To protect the CIA, Sterling has a picture of Wanta in the book under which she has the unfair and not balanced description “Leo Wanta, the American snake-oil salesman who stormed world money markets to crash the ruble in 1990-91.” She conveniently omits that Wanta’s cut of the action has been frozen in Russian banks, some of which were taken over by the Russian underworld, the mafia, and the funds disappeared when some of the banks collapsed. On the other hand, trillions of rubles were successfully siphoned out of Russia by George Bush the Elder for his personal benefit, some through dope trafficking and weapons smuggling by the Bush Family as secretly authorized by Federal Reserve Commissar Alan Greenspan. [Visit our website series, “Greenspan Aids and Bribes Bush” with attached Federal Reserve secret wire transfers, authorized by Greenspan, to 25 worldwide secret Bush Family accounts to launder such illicit proceeds. One such account, as shown, is jointly with the Queen of England, at the bank she owns, Coutts Bank London.]

An American foreign correspondent based in Italy, Claire Sterling wrote occasionally for the CIA trumpet, the Washington Post. [The suppressed original edition of a book goes into that newspaper’s CIA links. Named for Katherine Graham, the long-time straw-boss for the newspaper, “Katherine The Great” by Deborah Davis.]

Not cheated out of his “commission”, Marc Rich stayed shut about himself and the American CIA, such as with the George Bush family, including the Elder Bush’s sons, Neil, Jeb, and George W. But cheated out of HIS “commission”, Leo Wanta talked openly. So, in 1993, when Wanta went to Switzerland, to await the expected arrival of Clinton White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr., Wanta fell into a trap. At the behest of Marc Rich, Hillary Clinton, Vince Foster, and Wanta were working on a money laundering deal involving the reputed CIA front under the innocent-sounding name “Children’s Defense Fund”. Participating behind the scenes was Tommy Thompson, then Wisconsin Governor, and Donna Shalala, once Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and later, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS.{In the alleged “President” George W. Bush administration, Thompson became the HHS successor to her.]

To shut him up, Wanta was grabbed by so-called “authorities” in Switzerland and clapped into a dungeon, he says. Foster never arrived. A short time later, a private “hit” team murdered Foster in or near the Clinton White House and dumped his body next to American Civil War cannons in the memorial Fort Marcy Park, Virginia. The true happening of his demise is recorded on satellite images compiled by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, NRO, super-secret satellite bosses. The head of the NRO imaging project, Daniel Potter, was later murdered.

The Foster “hit” team was paid five million dollars of laundered funds reportedly through Marc Rich/George Bush the Elder. [Some background details of the Foster murder are in our website series on “Greenspan Aids and Bribes Bush” Part Four.]

Wanta was brought back to the U.S. on alleged charges of misstating 14 thousand dollars in supposed taxes. Who wanted him silenced and jailed? CIA darling Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson and his dirty bird crony George Herbert Walker Bush, once head of America’s secret political police. Notice the different standards of so-called Justice. Wanta, complaining loudly about the freezing of his “commission” on the Russian ruble scam, has been put in jail, and he says, mistreated. He says he keeps reporting to his jailers, to no avail, his medical ailments which require attention.

On the other hand, CIA darling/reputed assassination facilitator, Marc Rich, running from Switzerland a worldwide massive CIA proprietary money laundry, is pardoned in the final hours of the stinky Clinton administration. For Bill’s benefit, Marc Rich conveyed for use by Hillary and eventually Bill, somewhere between 30 and 100 million dollars. Our sources say it is closer to 30 million dollars. Gold experts and such on their website on 1/24/01 say quoting a knowledgeable source, “The White House provided no reasons for Rich’s pardon and I understand that the commodity crowd in New York speculates that Clinton ended up with a minimum of $100 million in his pocket somehow, somewhere as a payoff from Rich for the pardon. No one could corner or manipulate a market better than Mark Rich. I wonder if he has been part of the Gold cartel all this time?” http://www.LeMetropoleCafe.com Website of the Gold Anti-Trust Committee which contends the Federal Reserve and others are in a worldwide cabal that forced down the price of gold below the cost of production in order to save the paper-money gang.

The Marc Rich reputed bribe to the Clinton’s is parked, escrowed as it is called, at a Caribbean dope-haven money-drop, the former Dutch-possession St. Maartens Island. Owned by current, recently current, and former top IRS officials is an ocean-going money-laundry boat, disguised as a floating gambling casino, that comes and goes from St. Maartens and then crosses the Atlantic to Spain and Portugal. [See a picture of the boat and details in our website series, “IRS Officials Face Exposure”.]

Leo Wanta is one of a very few real experts on the Russian mafia. The Russian underworld bloomed following the downfall of the Moscow government. Former cut-throats of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, were out of work, so they formed a help-themselves situation, becoming or already had been, experts in superior quality counterfeit U.S. and other currency, stolen U.S. credit cards, supplying young men and women for prostitution in the U.S. In large cities like Chicago, if you become knowledgeable about all this influx of Russian mafia to America, and seek to report it to the local office of FBI, guess who gets “investigated”? YOU, not the mafia. The FBI know the Russians have superior methods and the FBI does not wish to tangle with them. With complete immunity, as we have described in earlier website stories, Cong. Henry Hyde (R., Ill.) reportedly runs a strip joint in an unincorporated area near Chicago. Used are Russian naked women as dancers, brought to America under false pretenses that they are going to work in “offices”. All this, in apparent open violation of laws regarding the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS. Also, Hyde reportedly keeps no records as required by the State Revenue and the IRS. And, ha! ha! Hyde has become head of the Foreign Relations Committee. [To paraphrase the Old Testament, Tabernacles of Gangsters Prosper, and Those That Curse Heaven Are Secure. A sad and cynical thought that troubles reformers.]

As savvy court observers long have noticed, dirty, corrupt politics are what counts not the law and the facts. Wanta, to fight being framed, had a lawyer working for him that reportedly understood the CIA tricks against those who the spy agency wants to throw away. On the other hand, notice what was said about the Marc Rich pardon by Clinton “Rich’s attorneys had ties to the former president Jack Quinn, co-founder of Quinn Gillespie & Associates, was a Clinton White House counsel and a chief of staff to Vice President Gore, and Arnold & Porter has represented the Clinton legal defense fund since it was created in 1998.” “Pardon Bypassed Procedures”, Washington Post, 1/24/01, page A01.

Wanta has positives, some possible negatives in the viewpoints of some. Although a Wisconsin resident, he has credentials, which appear to be genuine, naming him as an Ambassador to Switzerland from the East Africa nation of Somalia. Such diplomatic authority should have spared him his troubles with Tommy Thompson, etc. Sarcastic folks, however, surmise the credentials could have been covertly arranged by his one-time mentor Bush the Elder through the CIA, to assist in laundering sums through the reputed CIA front, the Children’s Defense Fund. Cynics chuckle that Wanta may simply have just bribed someone in Somalia, or elsewhere to be named an ambassador from that nation with their purported rule by a robber baron, military junta. (Really that different from the U.S.?) Against his wish, have Wanta’s former cronies kept him in jail, like a number of other CIA covert operatives, as a cheap way to protect him from his enemies, at government expense? Enemies such as George Bush the Elder and his sons.

As part of a cover-up, various high-level persons have an interest to have some CIA operatives no longer useful (most likely including Wanta) discredited and even falsely jailed. In the Russian ruble caper, 1990-91, Federal Reserve Commissar Alan Greenspan and then president Bush the Elder reportedly arranged to siphon off funds of the former Soviet banking system for their personal benefit and that of their cronies. This required getting in bed with the Russian mafiya. Thousands of tons of the Soviet gold treasury disappeared and ended up with top-level Dutch criminals operating as the Algemene Bank Nederland, now called ABN-Amro. Thus enriched has been ABN’s American flagship, La Salle National Bank of Chicago which used the purloined gold to set up branches in 15 American cities,gobbling up other banks in the process, secretly paying for them with stolen Soviet gold.

Questions, of which in our various website series we have made partial answers

Q- How many foreign and domestic political assassinations has Marc Rich reportedly arranged and financed, disguised as metals and grain deals? See some of the details previously posted about Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade dirty business. Are these events occurring through the aid of Rahm Emanuel, managing director of Wasserstein Perella & Co.? We think so. And Rahm is reportedly linked to Marc Rich and the Red Chinese Secret Police operating IN THE UNITED STATES.

Q-Does Marc Rich’s ex-wife, who reportedly directly contacted Clinton asking for a pardon, and Marc’s/her hotshot lawyers have any knowledge of his high-level crimes on behalf of the bloody American CIA? We think so.

Q-Did Bill/Hillary Clinton use Marc Rich to come up with the loot to pay for the private “hit”, as mentioned, on their crony Vincent W. Foster, Jr., because Foster was engaging in treason and was implicating them? Some background “Greenspan Aids and Bribes Bush” part four, our website series.

Q- Is it true that Rahm Emanuel, for six years having been on and off Clinton White House Senior Advisor, has been, in effect, Deputy Director for North America, of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency? And was Rahm an instrumental part of Marc Rich’s dirty, bloody business for the American CIA? [Rahm Emanuel went on to become a managing director of Wasserstein Perella & Co., now merged with Germany’s Dresdner Bank A.G., all reportedly tied to the Red Chinese Secret Police.]

Q-Is it true that the spy-riddled, oil-soaked monopoly press has suppressed stories, known by them to be true, that Marc Rich has had unholy deals with Bishop Paul Marcinkus, originally from the Chicago-area mafia enclave of Cicero, who went on to become head of the Vatican Bank, linked to the mafia and the American CIA? In numerous items on our website, we discussed Marcinkus’ role in dominating the First National Bank of Cicero which to get the stink off themselves have changed their name now several times.

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