Giuliani Paid by Iranian Exiles, Foreign Governments

And that could complicate his bid for secretary of state under Trump
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2016 1:00 PM CST
Trump's Frontrunner for SecState: Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani is said to be the top choice for Donald Trump's secretary of state.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – America's mayor looks likely to be America's top diplomat, Donald Trump aides tell the New York Times, with Rudy Giuliani sitting pretty as the president-elect's top choice for secretary of state. The former NYC mayor would be what the Times calls a "startling choice" due to his lack of actual diplomatic experience. But that's not all that might give the Senate pause before confirming him. According to Politico, Giuliani took money—said to be in the millions of dollars—as a consultant for multiple foreign governments. His benefactors included a state-run oil company in Qatar, a Singapore gambling project with ties to North Korea and organized crime, a Venezuelan state oil company controlled at the time by Hugo Chavez, and the oil ministry in Saudi Arabia.

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Giuliani gave multiple paid speeches in 2011 and 2012 for an Iranian group called MEK, the Washington Post reports. It's an exiled group of Iranian Marxists that "resembles a cult" and at the time was considered a terrorist organization. It's that last part that could make Giuliani taking money from them illegal. And if Giuliani believes the MEK is Iran's legitimate government, as the group claims, it could completely upend Iranian-US relations if he becomes secretary of state. While Giuliani is seen as the most likely candidate for secretary of state, he's also been floated as attorney general, a position he says he won't take, according to Fox News. Hillary Clinton was heavily criticized because the Clinton Foundation received donations from foreign governments while she was secretary of state; but Politico notes that Giuliani has actually profited from them directly. (Read more Rudy Giuliani stories.)

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