Hassan Nemazee, a multimillionaire Iranian-American investment banker and top Democratic Party fundraiser, was arrested today by federal law enforcement authorities in New York City and charged with engaging in criminal fraud for his role in arranging a $74 million dollar loan from Citibank, Bloomberg reported.
U.S. Attorney Prett Bharara in New York City and FBI investigators told Dow Jones Newswires the 59-year-old Namazee applied for the Citibank loans for Nemazee Capital Corp. by giving Citibank “numerous documents that purported to establish the existence of accounts in Nemazee’s name at various financial institutions containing many hundreds of millions of dollars.”
According to the criminal complaint released by Bharara, the accounts Nemazee submitted in the loan documentation were “fraudulent and forged” and “either never existed or had been closed years before Nemazee submitted the documents referencing those accounts.”
The criminal complaint alleged Nemazee’s fraudulent scheme began in December 2006, when he first approached Citibank to borrow $25 million. He recently raised the sum to $80 million.
Yesterday, Nemazee evidently paid back more than $74 million to Citibank after being questioned Sunday by federal law enforcement agents at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey as he was attempting to board a flight to Rome, Italy.
Nemazee was charged with one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million or twice the gain/loss resulting from the alleged crime.
Nemazee is well known in political circles as a major Democratic Party fund-raiser since the late-1990s.
In 1998, President Clinton nominated Nemazee to be ambassador to Argentina but withdrew the nomination after Forbes magazine published an extremely damaging review of Nemazee’s business career.
On May 3, 1999, Forbes wrote, “Over the past four years Nemazee and his family have given more than $150,000 to Democratic politicians and the DNC. Six of Nemazee’s friends and relatives have given $10,000 apiece – the maximum allowable per year – to Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund.”
In his 2005 book “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” WND senior staff reporter and columnist Jerome R. Corsi targeted Nemazee for his alleged history of pushing to normalize diplomatic relationships with the theocratic regime ruling Iran, despite Iran’s pursuit of a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
In 2004, Nemazee served as New York finance chairman for Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, a position in which he raised approximately $500,000 in bundled campaign contributions.
Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign website listed Nemazee as being in the top tier of Kerry’s contributors nationwide, one of some 60 people credited with raising $100,000 or more for the campaign. The amount earned Nemazee the designation of vice chairman to Kerry’s campaign.
On Oct. 18, 2004, Corsi attended a deposition in New York City in which Nemazee was questioned under oath by legal counsel for Aryo Pirouznia, the leader of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran.
Nemazee had sued Pirouznia in a $10 million defamation suit in which Nemazee charged that Pirouznia had defamed him by calling him an agent of the religious clerics ruling Iran.
According to Corsi’s book, Pirouznia had charged that Nemazee was utilizing his resources, including investment funds Nemazee managed in Nemazee Capital Corp., to further the interests of the religious rulers in Tehran in the formation of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran.
The lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court.
On Sept. 30, 2004, in the first nationally televised presidential debate with President George W. Bush, Kerry said the United States should provide nuclear fuel to Iran to test them, “to see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.”
This was basically the same plan the Clinton administration had tried with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il in 1994 under an “Agreed Framework” in which the Clinton administration handed over to North Korea enough nuclear fuel to run two nuclear power plants.
After the delivery of the nuclear fuel by the Clinton administration, Kim Jong-Il withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and proceeded to make nuclear warheads for North Korea’s Nodong missiles.
In 2008, Nemazee was a national chairman for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign before raising more than $500,000 for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign after the Democratic National Convention last August, the New York Times reported.