Dem Fundraiser Charged in Citibank Scam

Obama, Clinton donor allegedly tried to bilk bank out of $74M
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2009 6:12 AM CDT
A national finance chair of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, who later contributed to Barack Obama's run, has been charged with fraud and could face 30 years in jail.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – A major fundraiser for Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was charged yesterday with using bogus documents to obtain a $74 million loan from Citigroup, Reuters reports. Hassan Nemazee, who did not enter a plea, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say he forged documents suggesting he had hundreds of millions of dollars in collateral, and then offered references leading to phone numbers he controlled.

Nemazee, an Iranian-American investor and CEO of a private equity firm, has been raising money for Democrats since the mid-1990s; in 2006 Chuck Schumer tapped him to lead the party's Senate fundraising efforts, and he was one of Clinton's biggest fundraisers during her presidential run. Near the end of his term, Bill Clinton tried to make him ambassador to Argentina, but the Senate blocked the nomination amid concerns over his business practices. Nemazee will be released from jail today on a $25 million bond, but he will be confined to his apartment and have no Internet access—terms his lawyer called "draconian."