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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:28 AM
Original message
Move Indicates Criminal Charges Likely Against Ex-Riggs Executive


Move Indicates Criminal Charges Likely Against Ex-Riggs Executive

By Terence O'Hara
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 11, 2005; Page E01

The U.S. attorney for the District halted efforts to seize money and land owned by former Riggs Bank vice president Simon P. Kareri, an indication the government is preparing criminal charges against him.

The U.S. attorney has been trying to seize a Maryland property owned by Kareri and his wife as well as nearly $1 million in bank accounts, arguing in a civil suit that the assets were connected to money laundering. Kareri ran the African and Caribbean embassy business for Riggs, including the accounts of Equatorial Guinea and Benin, until he was terminated early last year after the bank's internal investigators uncovered evidence of fraud.



In a filing yesterday, the U.S. attorney and Kareri's lawyer agreed to stay the civil proceeding because further discovery in the case could reveal elements of each party's legal strategy in a criminal proceeding. Judge Ricardo M. Urbina agreed to stay the civil case "pending the outcome of the current criminal investigation and possible filing of formal charges against Simon Kareri," according to an order signed by the judge.

....

Kareri could be the first individual charged in an ongoing investigation of money laundering allegations at Riggs's defunct embassy banking operation. Riggs and its holding company are negotiating with the Department of Justice for a settlement of all criminal charges against them, according to sources close to the talks who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations. The settlement would not prohibit charges against individuals.

Kareri's lawyer Jonathan Shapiro did not return phone calls.

In a September court filing, the government alleged that Kareri developed a relationship with Hardutt Singh, owner of Potomac Construction Co. of Hyattsville. The filing alleged that Kareri arranged for Singh to perform a renovation project at Benin's embassy in the District in the spring of 2000. According to the filing, Singh prepared a written estimate of $186,000 for the work. Kareri then told Singh to submit an estimate for $410,000 to the embassy and to pay Kareri the $224,000 difference. Singh was paid the $410,000 in a check drawn on Benin's Riggs Bank account overseen by Kareri, the filing alleges. Singh then issued several checks directly to Kareri, according to the filings.


more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64273-20...

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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:48 AM
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1. here's hoping he points the finger at jonathan bush!
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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Ha ha, you beat me to it!
Jonathan Bush: uncle of George W., and another card-carrying member of the Bush international crime family! I think he was the head of Riggs Bank's investment department.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Bush to Serve as President & CEO
Dudley Elected Chairman of Riggs Investment Management Subsidiary; Bush to Serve as President & CEO

Washington, D.C., May 31, 2000 - Riggs Bank N.A. today announced that the Board of Directors of RIMCO, a wholly owned investment management subsidiary, has elected Jonathan J. Bush President & Chief Executive Officer and a Director, replacing Philip Tasho who resigned. In addition, Henry A. Dudley, Jr. was elected Chairman.

Mr. Bush will continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of J. Bush & Co., an investment management company he founded in 1970, which Riggs acquired in 1997. Mr. Dudley, a 24-year veteran of Riggs, will continue to be responsible for all of Riggs Bank's investment management, trust and private banking business.

Located in the nation's capital, Riggs Bank has 53 branches in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, as well as banking offices in Miami, London and Berlin.
http://www.riggsbank.com/Discover_Riggs/may31_00.html
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
2. more
Kareri's lawyer Jonathan Shapiro did not return phone calls.


Sources close to the case said the Singh relationship began as a referral from Riggs employee Michael Parris, who worked for Kareri. Parris's wife is the sister of Singh's wife, said sources familiar with the case, who spoke only on the condition they not be named because of the continuing investigation. Parris, who is not alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing, left Riggs last summer.

Singh, who is not named as a defendant in the civil action, did not return repeated phone calls. His lawyer, Martha Rogers, declined to comment. Parris referred questions to his attorney, Thomas Connolly, who declined to comment yesterday.

The government claims Kareri used some of the funds generated by the scheme to buy a property near Potomac, which the government was attempting to seize.

The Singh family relationship to Parris was not the only tie to a Riggs executive. Riggs National Corp. chief executive Robert L. Allbritton's wife, Elena, a dermatologist, is a cousin of the wives of both Singh and Parris. Sources with knowledge of the matter said Allbritton met his wife after the events in question. Paul Clark, a spokesman for Robert Allbritton, said, "Dr. Allbritton's family ties are totally coincidental, and she has never had any communication with Mr. Kareri, either directly or through her family."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64273-20 ...
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Minstrel Boy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
5. "The Spook Bank: More on the Riggs CIA Connection" - today's Slate
...

In 1977, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward tied Riggs Bank to payments in a CIA operation in Iran, where the shah had contracted for a $500 million border surveillance system. That same year, the Washington Post's Robert Meyers reported from the espionage trial of former CIA employee Edwin Gibbons Moore. A defense psychiatrist who examined Moore and thought him paranoid told the court that the defendant claimed to have spoken to the "CIA liaison officer at Riggs bank." (Moore was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 15 years in prison.)

The FBI seems to have its own special relationship with Riggs. In a 1986 Nation column, Christopher Hitchens writes that the FBI obtainedwithout a subpoena or court orderthe account information of a friend of his who banked at Riggs' Dupont Circle branch. Later, FBI Director William Webster admitted that the information was made available "on two occasions" by "confidential sources." Prior to President Bill Clinton's sacking of FBI Director William Sessions, a Justice Department ethics investigation determined that the director had purchased a $435,000 house that was beyond his means with a "sweetheart loan" from Riggs. Riggs Chairman Joe L. Allbritton referred Sessions and his wife to a Riggs bank official after he learned they were house-hunting, according to a Feb. 4, 1993, story in the Washington Post.

As long as we're indulging in speculation, what should we make of the 1997 deal in which J. Bush & Co., a money management firm owned by Jonathan Bush, George H.W. Bush's brother and W's uncle, was purchased by a unit of Riggs Bank? Exactly how close is the Bush dynasty to Riggs and its scandal?

President Bush is on record promising a "full investigation" of charges that Riggs helped Chilean junta leader Gen. Augusto Pinochet (among others) launder millions. Will he make good on that promise or pretend he's protecting national security by shutting it down?

http://slate.msn.com/id/2112106/
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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Connection: Jonathan Bush/Riggs
CONNECTION JONATHAN BUSH AND RIGGS: Jonathan Bush, President Bush's uncle, was appointed CEO of Riggs Bank's investment arm in May of 2000, just months after his nephew secured the nomination for the presidency. At the time of the appointment, Jonathan Bush had already become a major financial backer of his nephew, rising to "Bush Pioneer" status by raising more than $100,000 for his nephew in 2000. The move solidified the relationship between Jonathan Bush and Riggs, which was originally initiated in 1997 when, according to American Banker newsletter, Riggs paid Bush $5.5 million for his smaller investment firm. That transaction, according to the NYT, "deepened links to the Bushes." While Riggs denies any connection between Bush and the accounts being investigated in the money laundering probe, Riggs President Timothy Lex told the Washington Times in 1997 that "there's a blurring of distinctions between banks, mutual-fund families, broker dealers and everything else across the board."

CONNECTION - ALLBRITTON-BUSH LINK: Allbritton, who said during the federal probe that he was stepping down from Riggs's board, also was close to the Bush family. As the NYT reported, he (along with Riggs client Saudi Prince Bandar) was a financial backer of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, with National Journal noting he contributed between $100,000 - $250,000 to the project. And there also appears to be a personal bond with the current President Bush: As the 2/15/01 WP noted, "When President Bush climbed out of his limousine on Inauguration Day at the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, he spotted Allbritton, waved and said, 'Hey Joe, how are you doing?'" That might have something to do with the fact that, according to the 11/7/2000 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Allbritton-owned TV station KATV in Little Rock broke 39 years of precedent and publicly endorsed Bush in the 2000 presidential election. The station, which is the biggest in the state, proceeded to air its endorsement 10 times throughout Arkansas, and refused to give equal time to Democrats "who asked for the time to present an alternative to the station's endorsement."

ACTION LOOSENING BANKING REGS THAT COULD AFFECT RIGGS: According to Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon's "Age of Sacred Terror," upon taking office the Bush administration tried to halt efforts to tighten international banking laws some of which may have affected Riggs. As he notes, the new Bush Treasury Department "disapproved of the Clinton administration's approach to money laundering issues, which had been an important part of the drive to cut off the money flow to bin Laden." Specifically, the Bush administration opposed Clinton administration-backed efforts by the G-7 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that targeted countries with "loose banking regulations" being abused by terrorist financiers. Meanwhile, the Bush administration provided "no funding for the new National Terrorist Asset Tracking Center."

http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF...
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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Albritton was cited as major donor to Prince Charles's Prince's
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 11:03 AM by emad
Trust; story in UK's Daily Mail on 18 July 2004 (not online, Richard Kay social column, paysite).

Also connected in fundraising/sponsorship to Albritton activities in this Trust is Crescent Giffard, the Texan-born wife of Staffordshire Chief Constable Sir John Giffard - owners of Chillington Hall:
http://www.shropshiremagazine.com/property/publish/arti...

Kay's previous pieces alleged Crescent Giffard was previously one of Bush2's original Pioneers and fundraised to get him elected to the Texas governorship.

Also cited was her long time association with Professor Hugh Fudenberg, former business partner of Jim Channon, creator of the loony First Earth Battalion.....

See: Crazy Rulers of the World
http://worldofwonder.net/archives/2004/10/05/the_goat_p...

Fudenberg, as investigated by Channel 4 journalist Brian Deer:
http://briandeer.com/wakefield-deer.htm
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. large-scale bribes
Riggs appears to have acted as a conduit for large-scale bribes or other corrupt machinations between the giant oil corporations and the dictator of a country with which they were eager to do business. The report also noted that these oil companies made a number of large payments (sometimes valued at over $1 million) to individual officials or family members for a variety of services.

The manager of Riggs accounts for Equatorial Guinea was Simon P. Kareri, who was eventually fired by the bank in January 2004. According to a bank employee, on more than one occasion Kareri visited the Equatorial Guinean embassy and returned with a suitcase full of $3 million in cash, which was deposited in the bank with no reports to financial regulators.

According to the subcommittee report, The bank leadership permitted ...to become closely involved with EG officials and business activities, including advising the EG government on financial matters and becoming the sole signatory on an EG account holding substantial funds. The bank exercised such lax oversight of the account managers activities that, among other misconduct, the account manager was able to wire transfer more than $1 million from the EG oil account at Riggs to another bank for an account opened in the name of Jadini Holdings, an offshore corporation controlled by the account managers wife.

In addition to its dealings with the Saudi royal family and Equatorial Guineas dictator, Riggs had a close relationship with the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet held numerous active accounts at Riggs between 1994 and 2002, even while he was under house arrest in Britain and his assets were supposedly frozen.

According to the subcommittee report, The aggregate deposits in the Pinochet accounts at Riggs ranged from $4 to $8 million at a time.... Riggs account managers took actions consistent with helping Mr. Pinochet to evade legal proceedings seeking to discover and attach his bank accounts.... Riggs opened multiple accounts and accepted millions of dollars in deposits from Mr. Pinochet with no serious inquiry into questions regarding the source of his wealth; helped him set up offshore shell corporations and open accounts in the names of those corporations to disguise his control of the accounts; altered the names of his personal accounts to disguise their ownership; transferred $1.6 million from London to the United States while Mr. Pinochet was in detention and the subject of a court order to attach his bank accounts; conducted transactions through Riggs own accounts to hide Mr. Pinochets involvement in some cash transactions; and delivered over $1.9 million in cashiers checks to Mr. Pinochet in Chile to enable him to obtain substantial cash payments from banks in that country.

more
http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=2974

:hi:
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