Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prince Bandar & The Banks

According to this posting by Director Blue, citing the Washington Post at THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS on January 27, 2008,
Bill Clinton approached Prince Bandar in 1991 for $20 million to launch a Middle East studies program at the University of Arkansas and that Prince Bandar announced that the request was approved shortly before Bill Clinton won the presidential election...
On February 10, 2008, the Washington Post reported the following about Prince Bandar, former ambassador from Saudi:
A federal judge has temporarily blocked the former Saudi ambassador to the United States from removing real estate sales proceeds from the United States, pending resolution of a class-action lawsuit.

The suit was filed last September by a tiny Michigan city's retirement system. It accuses current and former directors of BAE Systems, a giant British defense company, of breaching their fiduciary duties in connection with $2 billion or more in alleged illegal bribes paid to Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Bandar also is named a defendant in the suit, along with the former Riggs Bank of Washington and its successor, PNC Financial Group.


Without ruling on the merits of the case, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said in a temporary restraining order, signed Tuesday [February 12], that the suit by the City of Harper Woods Employees' Retirement System raises serious questions of law that warrant a temporary order keeping Bandar from taking the proceeds of real estate sales out of U.S.-based accounts.


The retirement system suit maintains that Bandar used funds illicitly obtained from BAE Systems to acquire U.S. real estate, including a Colorado ranch and mansion once placed on the market at $135 million and the former William Randolph Hearst mansion in California, offered for sale last summer at $165 million....
According to the article, the accounts in question were audited annually by the Saudi Arabian Ministry--for whatever those audits are worth with regard to integrity.

The article goes on to provide this unrelated information:
In London, lawmakers disclosed last month that Britain's head of overseas intelligence had warned that Saudi Arabia probably would stop sharing vital information on terrorism if prosecutors pursued an investigation into alleged corruption involving the kingdom.

MI6, Britain's overseas intelligence service, believed Saudi Arabia would probably end information-sharing with Britain if investigators continued the inquiry, former attorney general Peter Goldsmith told the committee. MI6 raised objections to the prosecution before Britain's Serious Fraud Office decided to end the case, he said.

After the inquiry was dropped, Saudi Arabia signed a $8.7 billion agreement with Britain to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets from BAE.
I'll give the Saudis credit for one thing: they know how to work quid pro quo. The West apparently does not.

Reminder: Hannibal Lecter of The Silence of the Lambs knew all about quid pro quo, too. He worked it to his megalomaniacal, serial-killing advantage.

(Crossposted at THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS)

Additional information on Prince Bandar, from Mark Alexander's web site:
THE GUARDIAN: Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats
to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE....
But keep telling yourself, as our leaders do, "Saudi is our ally. Saudi is our ally." Yeah, right.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 2/17/2008 09:00:00 AM