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Proof of trade trip sales

Posted By Charles Smith On 05/26/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Documents from the previously withheld files of Ron Brown
confirm that President Clinton co-operated in the exchange of
donations for trade trips with Ron Brown. The documents were
obtained by SOFTWAR from the US Commerce Department using the
Freedom of Information Act. The previously withheld files
included letters which combine the son of a major communist
Chinese party member, fund raising for the Chinese government,
fundraising for the DNC, Chinese human rights, and trade trips.

The letters were written by Sanford Robertson, a California
based financier. The letters were sent directly to Ron Brown
and President Clinton. Robertson’s letters show that both
Clinton and Brown were informed of Robertson’s donations for the
DNC and of Robertson’s request for a position on a Commerce
trade mission to China in August 1994. Directly after the
request Robertson was personally appointed by President Clinton
under a “Presidential Business Development Mission” to accompany
Brown to China.

Robertson personally wrote President Clinton a letter in
November of 1994 thanking the President for “autographing the
pictures taken in the cabinet room before Ron Brown’s delegation
to China.” Robertson noted that during the August 1994 China
trip, Ron Brown “deftly navigated the human rights issues by
obtaining an agreement on further talks” in a meeting with Li
Peng, the Chinese vice minister. Li Peng is a PRC major backer
of joint economic projects, and has since avoided the human
rights issue with the US. Secretary Brown then, according to
Robertson, “moved directly into the economic issues at hand,
i.e. helping Chrysler, Sprint and others with their joint
ventures.”

Robertson also included a “P.S.” to President Clinton at the end
of his November letter. Other than trade, and future meetings
to talk human rights, Robertson also clearly notes his money for
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA. “P.S.” Robertson wrote to
President Clinton. “Bob Rubin came to our home on Thursday for
a Dianne Feinstein dinner, which raised over $100,000 for her
campaign. Bob, of course, turned out the financial community
and Silicon Valley.”

The curious reference Robertson makes here is to Robert Rubin,
then assistant to the president for economic policy and manager
of the White House National Economic Council (NEC). Rubin,
according to Robertson, managed to turn out “the financial
community and Silicon Valley” for a DNC fund-raiser at
Robertson’s home. This fact alone points to the close working
relationship between the White House, the DNC and Sanford
Robertson.

Sanford “Sandy” Robertson has a long history of donations to the
Democrats. Other documents in the hidden files kept by Brown
include a 1995 article written by the New York Post. For some
reason Brown kept the article hidden with the donation letters.
In 1995 Robertson admitted to the Post that the only reason he
was selected for the China trade mission was because he
“organized a group of CEOs” to support Clinton early in the 1992
election. In fact, since 1993, Robertson and his investment
company, Robertson Stephens & Co., have donated about one
million dollars to the DNC. One benefit of this financial
relationship, according to Robertson’s New York Post interview,
was a spot on the August 1994 trade trip to China led by Ron
Brown.

It is already known that one other major DNC donor was on the
same August flight to China, Bernard Schwartz, the CEO of Loral
aerospace. Loral and Schwartz are currently under investigation
for illegal campaign donations to Clinton connected to a Loral
missile technology transfer to China. Schwartz was the leading
1996 giver to Clinton and, like Robertson, has donated over a
million dollars to the DNC.

Yet, Robertson also wrote two earlier letters to Ron Brown. One
in April, 1994 — before the trip, and one in September 1994 –
after the China trade mission. These letters detail his direct
involvement with the communist government.

In the April 1994 letter Robertson made his initial request to
travel with Brown. Robertson wrote he represented a “medium
sized” US company. Robertson also reminded Brown of up coming
money raising efforts for the DNC and of his efforts for DNC
candidates. “P.S.” Robertson wrote to Brown. “It has been fund-raising season out here for the Senate and we’ve had events at our home for Feinstein, Lieberman, and Cooper. I wish you were still head of the DNC for the December elections, but you are
obviously doing a great job at Commerce.”

In the same letter Robertson also noted Brown for his
influence in another political party. In April 1994 Robertson
informed Brown of his successful effort to bribe a major Chinese
Communist leader.

“Currently,” wrote Robertson. “We are working on a joint
venture with China’s second largest pharmaceutical company …
We have recently hired Bo Feng the son of Feng Zhijun, the vice
chairman of the China Democratic League and a member of the
Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. It is
anticipated that Bo Feng will open a Shanghai or Beijing office
for us in the near future.”

The worldwide common practice of buying political influence by
hiring the relatives of high party officials is not unknown even
in the U.S. and, in particular, the Clinton administration. In
fact, Ron Brown’s son Michael Brown pled guilty to funneling
illegal campaign donations to the DNC for his father, Ron Brown.
Michael got the money from Nora Lum. Ms. Lum recently pled
guilty to similar charges and is said to be cooperating with
Federal Prosecutors.

Lum’s company had been under investigation from the FBI since
early in the 1992 Clinton campaign. Lum’s company was also
personally authorized to travel with Ron Brown by President
Clinton under the “Presidential Business Development Mission” to
China just like Robertson and Loral’s Schwartz. Lum did not fly
to China but Clinton offered a spot on the what Robertson
described as an “oversubscribed” mission.

And what about Bo Feng, the son-of-a-high party official?
Robertson’s hired son-of-PRC ruler and new VP, wrote an article
for FORBES in 1997, titled “Rousing the Sleeping Dragon”. You
can even see Bo’s article on the Internet at Forbes web site: http://www.forbes.com/asap/97/1201/020.htm

The life of Bo Feng, it turns out, is quite different than what
Sanford Robertson described. Bo Feng’s stay in Silicon valley
started in 1987. Bo was sponsored by an unnamed “friend of the
family” to come to America at the age of 18. As a student Bo
studied film, and worked in a sushi bar. In 1993 Bo claims “a lot
of people in business were very interested in China”. By early
1994 Bo was an executive VP for Robertson. Robertson hired Bo
right out of community college at the ripe age of 24. Today,
according to the article, Bo tours China, investing American
money from Robertson’s firm into high tech PRC computer
companies.

However, Bo claims in his 1997 Forbes article that father “was a
professor at the Shanghai Institute of Railroad Technology.”
This makes it sound like dad worked on the Chinese railroads or
designed rail equipment. In contrast, according to Robertson’s
letter to Ron Brown, Bo’s father, Feng Zhijun is a member of the
Standing Committee of the People’s Congress. This would make
Bo’s dad one of a few dozen ruling elite party members in China.
Thus, according to Robertson, Bo’s father not only works on the
rail roads … He RUNS the rail roads in China. Of course,
father Feng’s job would naturally include such mundane communist
items such as working political prisoners on forced labor
details, and moving People’s Army troops in close co-ordination
with PLA generals.

Bo Feng also informs the Forbes reader of his other relatives as
well. It seems that neither Bo nor his brother followed Father
Feng’s red party example by working the Chinese rail lines. In
the article Bo Feng wrote that his brother “studied automatic
missile control”. In fact, Bo claims his brother “really is a
rocket scientist”!

After the China mission Sanford Robertson also wrote a second
letter to Ron Brown. This letter, written in September 1994,
details what Robertson had gained from the China flight. “In
one instance,” wrote Robertson. “We have arranged a joint
project with Shanghai International Securities, the largest
investment banking firm in China.”

Anyone investing in China should note that their stock market is
run for the profit of the communist government. Because Chinese
securities are normally denominated and traded in Chinese
currencies, the investment value may be affected unfavorably by
currency exchange rates. In addition, there is less information
publicly available about Chinese companies. The Chinese are not
subject to accounting, auditing, and financial reporting
standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. Chinese
brokerage commissions and other fees may also be higher than in
the U.S.

China also has no requirements that money invested in a company
has to be put into the “advertised” prime business. Thus,
Chinese companies often invest American money in the local real
estate market instead of their core “advertised” business. U.S.
investors, for example, who thought they were buying stock in a
bicycle company, found themselves funding high rise towers in
downtown Shanghai.

Furthermore, legal remedies available to investors in China are
more limited than those available with respect to investments in
the U.S. In the case of securities issued by the Chinese
government, they may be unable or unwilling to meet obligations
on the securities in accordance with agreed terms. This raises
the possibility of Chinese nationalization of U.S. investments
which now total to over $180 billion dollars. In short, buyer
beware – this is a high risk investment.

Robertson’s China funds invest in securities principally traded
on the Chinese stock market. In return, Robertson usually takes
a percentage of the total fund’s value in the form of broker
fees and charges. Win, lose or draw, Robertson still gets paid
but the bigger the pot the more he would get. Political
instability, and diplomatic developments affect the value of
Robertson’s investments in China. Thus, issues such as “human
rights” would affect Robertson’s bottom line and had to be dealt
with. Ron Brown calling for “future” U.S.-Sino talks but doing
nothing to anger the Chinese government clearly pleased
Robertson and his CEO pals.

The Robertson deal with Shanghai International looked great on
paper. Robertson brought American money into the Chinese market
and Shanghai invested it. Shanghai International was founded
and run by 42 year old Guan Jinsheng, a Belgian educated son of
peasants. Right after signing with Robertson — Guan boasted
openly that his company would become the “Merrill Lynch” of
China. Within a year Guan was charged with illegally
manipulating the Chinese market in treasury bonds. The
communist Chinese government took the extraordinary step of
voiding nine minutes of trades on the stock market because
Shanghai International tried to push bond prices lower to cover
over $100 million dollars in losses.

U.S. investors were not the only ones to loose. The Chinese stock
market is also open to ordinary Chinese citizens. Many of them
also lost life earnings in the Shanghai scandal. Again, this
raises the relationship between the recent drop in Asian markets
rippling into nearby countries and then into the western world.
The result has already weakened other nations in Asia such as
Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea.

In his September 1994 letter to Brown, California financier
Sanford Robertson thanked Ron Brown for “including me
(Robertson) on the trip which was so much in demand and
oversubscribed.” Indeed, Robertson had much to thank to Ron
Brown for. Robertson’s paid connections in Beijing, and
Washington helped his business greatly. Robertson had
previously noted to Brown in his April 1994 letter that he would
“bring a medium sized growing business to your proposed
traveling group”.

Today, Robertson no longer runs a “medium sized” company. He
recently sold his firm to Bank of America for over one billion
dollars. China connections included.


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