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GOVERNMENT / THE ELITE -
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Intelligence Whispers

Posted in the database on Thursday, June 23rd, 2005 @ 01:32:22 MST (1468 views)
from The Wayne Madsen Report  

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WASHINGTON, DC, June 20, 2005 -- Two criminal investigations based in New York are getting close to exposing a major Bush family and associates' international money laundering operation that has spanned more than a generation and has been used to illegally fund U.S. elections since the Nixon era. According to CIA sources, most Bush family assets are tied up in off-shore accounts that are masked from investigators through the use of pass through companies and secretive interlocking board directorships.

The investigations of the secret Bush money tranches are coming to the fore as New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer focuses in on the scandal involving Maurice "Hank" Greenberg and the inflation of the worth of American Insurance Group (AIG) through shady affiliates, including AIG reinsurer Coral Re of Barbados. Greenberg was the CEO of AIG but was forced to step down amid the Spitzer probe. AIG was founded from Asia Life/CV Starr, a Shanghai-based international import/export and insurance firm founded in 1919 by Cornelius V. Starr, an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) operative in Southeast Asia during World War II. AIG's largest shareholder is Starr International Company (SICO), an off-shore corporation incorporated in Panama with headquarters in Bermuda. Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who prosecuted President Clinton, is the nephew of Cornelius Starr. Greenberg inherited the CEO job and Chairmanship from Starr as well as the $3.5 billion Starr Foundation.

Another probe by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is focused on long-time Bush backers Sam and Charles Wyly of Texas and a Bank of America off-shore account in the Isle of Man. According to intelligence sources, that probe is getting very close to an Isle of Man multi-billion dollar account controlled by the Bushes through an off-shore contrivance known as Five Star Trust.

Charles Wyly serves on the board of the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). Critics have charged that hundreds of millions of dollars of UTIMCO's $11 billion in public funds have been steered to investment funds run by Bush family friends and supporters. A number of UTIMCO's past and current directors are members of George W. Bush's "$100,000 Club." These include, in addition to Wyly, former UTIMCO chairman Tom Hicks, a vice chairman of Clear Channel and head of Muse, Tate & Furst, Inc.; L. Lowry Mays, the chairman of Clear Channel; former Texas Representative and current lobbyist Tom Loeffler (who received illegal laundered campaign contributions from the failed Vernon Savings & Loan); A. W. Riter, a former chairman of NCNB Bank in Tyler, Texas; A. R. "Tony" Sanchez, Chairman of Sanchez-O'Brien Oil & Gas, owner of the Texas border-based International Bank of Commerce and the failed Tesoro Savings & Loan; and Woody Hunt, Chairman of Hunt Building Company. Some of UTIMCO's investments were directed to firms with close ties to Bush "Pioneer" contributors Lee Bass (Bass Brothers Enterprises), Henry Kravis (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts), and Charles Wyly (Maverick Capital Fund), as well as George W. and H.W. Bush (The Carlyle Partners II Fund, managed by The Carlyle Group).

Questions have been raised about the sudden resignation of Hugh McColl, ostensibly a Democrat, from the Bank of America in 2001 just after George W. Bush's election. McColl's departure was reportedly a year earlier than originally planned. McColl contributed $104,000 to Bush in the 2000 campaign and gave a mere pittance to Al Gore. Earlier, in 1983, McColl became head of NCNB Bank, which became Nations Bank in 1991. In 1988, NCNB had acquired the failed First Republic Bank of Dallas and, according to intelligence insiders, assumed responsibility for a number of questionable Bush family business deals.

Texas money laundering is the tip of an Bush family financial iceberg that extends below the surface to shady financial deals around the globe. However, investigators who dare venture into Texas will have their jobs cut out for them. The Bushes have been major recipients of campaign cash from senior partners the largest law firms in Texas -- Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts (law firm of James Baker III), Andrews Kurth (the law firm of contentious U.S. District Judge Priscilla Owen), Jenkins & Gilchrist, Haynes Boone and Bracewell & Patterson -- that have also been involved in defending those Texas companies and principals who have benefited from massive illegal financial flows.

For example, Andrews Kurth was the law firm for MAXXAM. The firm figured prominently in the failure of the United Savings Association of Texas in December 1988, a savings & loan owned by United Financial Group, Inc., a company in which two firms connected to Texas banker Charles Hurwitz -- Federated Development Company and MAXXAM Group Inc. -- had a significant interest. MAXXAM was an artifice financed with junk bonds from the failed Drexel Burnham Lambert investment firm and its chief junk bond master Michael Milken. The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision and the Treasury Department brought charges against Hurwitz and his colleagues for several violations of the law. The late House Banking Chairman Henry Gonzalez attempted unsuccessfully to have George H. W. Bush impeached for the massive S&L, BCCI, and other rip offs of the American taxpayers, investors and depositors. Gonzalez realized that the Bush family has concocted a series of financial tranches, off-shore shells, and artifices to conceal criminality unseen in the history of modern financial systems.

The Bank of America-Wyly investigation by Morgenthau, who prosecuted a number of BCCI principals, is noteworthy because of the Isle of Man connection. According to Enron insiders, the same Houston-based attorney who set up the Five Star Trust for the Bushes in the Isle of Man also set up Isle of Man trusts for Enron and the trusts often co-mingled funds and funding sources. The most important bit of intelligence to come forward from seasoned CIA financial operatives, speaking on a strict condition of anonymity, is that Osama bin Laden has had an interest in some of the same Isle of Man trusts used by the Bushes and Enron.

Spitzer's investgation of AIG is starting to dovetail with that of Morgenthau. One focus of the investigation is on some questionable Enron "cash flow" notes payable to Citicorp and J. P. Morgan Chase and purchased in May 2001 by AIG and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. On August 21, 2001, just a few weeks before the 911 attacks, a UBS Warburg/Paine Webber broker named Chung Wu advised his investors to sell their Enron stock, whereafter UBS quickly fired the broker. In an email Wu advised customers, “Financial situation is deteriorating in Enron and price drops another $7.00…I would advise you to take some money off the table even at this point.” The House Committee on Government Reform investigated the sacking of Wu and his warning but little came from the GOP-run committee. In December 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy in New York City, not in Houston, where its headquarters was located. The New York bankruptcy court appointed Steven Cooper of Zolfo-Cooper LLC to run Enron.

After Enron's bankruptcy, UBS Warburg conveniently purchased Enron’s energy trading unit, the group that was the subject of much of the investigations directed against the defunct firm, especially the role of the trading unit in inflating energy costs in California and ensuring the recall of Democratic Governor Gray Davis and replacement by the GOP's Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The deal involving Cooper's assumption of control of Enron raised eyebrows among regulators, chiefly because Cooper's Catalyst Equity Partner's Fund included Citicorp and J.P. Morgan Chase, two of Enron's major creditors. Financial investigators report that the Enron notes to Citicorp and Chase and sold to AIG and MacArthur were unusual, out of the ordinary, and "lacked teeth." A former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor referred to such financial instruments as "feints" designed to mask illegal transactions by keeping them off the books and away from the eyes of U.S. government regulators. In September 2002, Kroll Inc., a shadowy firm with ties to the U.S. intelligence community, acquired Zolfo-Cooper and Cooper was named managing director of Kroll Zolfo Cooper. In May 2004, Marsh & McLennan acquired Kroll and Zolfo Cooper. Jeffrey Greenberg, the son of AIG's Hank Greenberg, had earlier left AIG to run Marsh & McLennan. The revolving doors and musical chairs involving Enron, Kroll, Zolfo-Cooper, Marsh & McLennan, and AIG became the subject of Spitzer's probes. Another insurance firm investigated by Spitzer for price fixing of property casualty insurance coverage and conspiracy was ACE, headed by Hank Greenberg's other son, Evan. In October 2004, Jeffrey Greenberg quickly stepped down from Marsh & McLennan amid Spitzer's investigation.

Hank Greenberg has had a long time relationship with Henry Kissinger, the partner of Richard Perle in Trireme Partners, the firm that, according to Seymour Hersh, attempted to negotiate deals with Saudi Arabia using Saudi billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi as an intermediary. Greenberg and Khashoggi, according to CIA sources, have long had an interest in exploiting the oil and natural gas reserves of Uzbekistan and the construction of pipelines across the Uralskaya region of Russia. Uzbekistan has also featured prominently in oil and natural gas plans of Enron and UNOCAL. According to Enron insiders, on Saturday, September 7, 1996, 42 representatives of Enron and UNOCAL met in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, with Khashoggi, Taliban representatives, and Uzbek government officials. The subject was the CentGas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan, a project that involved UNOCAL, Enron, and Saudi support. Current Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a consultant on the pipeline for UNOCAL. Prior to the Tashkent oil summit, on June 23, 1996, a $10 billion wire transfer was made from Cyprus, via Barclays Bank in London, to Enron in Houston. Cyprus is a major banking center for illicit activity. The Tashkent meeting was followed by a spring 1997 meeting between Enron, UNOCAL, and Taliban representatives at the posh Houstonian Hotel in Houston.



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