FBI releases documents on controversial Clinton pardon

In addition to the unwelcome reopening of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, a second ghost from the Clintons’ past emerged Tuesday as the FBI disclosed documents related to former President Bill Clinton’s contentious pardon of long-time fugitive, Marc Rich.

Heavily redacted, the documents, released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal little about the investigation into Clinton’s highly-questionable pardon for Rich.

In a curious development, a dormant FBI Twitter account, @FBIRecordsVault, disclosed links to the Rich documents.  Unused for over a year, the Twitter handle was the origin of a string of anonymous tweets over the past several days. The FBI announced it is looking into the matter on Thursday morning.

Along with partner Pincus Green, Rich amassed a fortune in excess of $2 billion through illegal commodities trading with America’s foes, dictatorial regimes and embargoed nations including Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, Cuban autocrat Fidel Castro and apartheid-era South Africa.

Rich continued to conduct business with Iran as student revolutionaries aligned with Khomeini held 53 Americans hostage between 1979–81.  His dealing with the Iranian regime earned him in excess of $200 million.

Facing prosecution on 65 counts of tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and illegally trading with Iran when an oil embargo was firmly in place, Rich and business partner Green fled the U.S. for Switzerland in 1983 and remained in exile until his death in 2013. Green remains abroad.

Considered the largest tax evasion case in history at the time, the charges against Rich and Green were filed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District for New York.

Rich eventually earned a place on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” persons list, but never expressed regret for his actions and never admitted wrongdoing.

After his flight from the U.S., Rich set up businesses in Zug, Switzerland, and continued business dealings with America’s enemies.  Although he spent 17 years evading the FBI abroad, his Swiss-based firm eventually pleaded guilty to tax evasion and paid a $90 million fine.

On his last day in office in 2001, then-president Bill Clinton issued a pardon to Rich and Green.

Dissatisfied with the conditional pardon, Rich was required to drop any procedural defenses against any civil actions brought against him by the United States, Rich chose to remain in Switzerland.

Clinton’s late-night, by-candlelight pardon set off a conflagration directed at the ex-president for alleged pay-to-play in view of the fact Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, had been a major donor to the Clintons.

During the Clinton presidency, Denise Rich was revealed as a frequent guest of the Clintons at the White House and had donated $10,000 to Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate campaign; had donated in excess of $1 million to the Democratic Party; and had delivered an additional $450,000 to the Clinton Library.  Denise Rich’s donations occurred prior to the issue of the pardon.

Despite expressing contrived regret over the pardon later, both Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were recipients of Denise Rich’s largess following Rich’s pardon and have lived unaffected by the clear appearance of impropriety.

 

[The Hill] [Photo courtesy Getty Images/AP via New York Post]