FEBRUARY 27, 2008
Barack Obama’s “squeaky clean” reputation is once again being tarnished by shady entrepreneurs who have supported him financially, this time a convicted Iraqi billionaire who funneled millions to the Illinois senator in 2005.
A British newspaper has published a lengthy story on the scandal, which connects the Democratic presidential candidate and his indicted longtime Syrian financial supporter (currently on trial for corruption) with one of Britain’s richest people, a criminal Iraqi guru named Nadhmi Auchi.
It turns out that Auchi, convicted in Europe for operating a massive kickback scheme, gave Obama $3.5 million just weeks before the senator purchased a pricey mansion in an exclusive Chicago neighborhood. Auchi funneled the money to Obama through the senator’s friend and campaign bankroller, Antoin Rezko, the Syrian businessman charged with influence peddling, extortion and conspiracy.
A loyal Obama supporter for years, Rezko is on trial for plotting to squeeze millions of dollars in kickbacks out of firms seeking state business. He had been free on bail since being indicted last year, but was subsequently arrested and ordered to remain in jail after receiving a multi million-dollar wire from Beirut that led authorities to think he planned to flee to the Middle East.
It was Rezko who introduced Obama to Auchi, convicted in France in 2003 for operating what has been described as the biggest political and corporate scandal in post-war Europe. The legal problems didn’t deter Obma from taking Auchi’s money nor have they affected his empire. Auchi is reportedly among Britain’s wealthiest men and one of the richest people in the world, according to Forbes Magazine.
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