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Reply #31: The reason this is being covered up is Greece, like Turkey, was buying GOP Congressmen [View All]

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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-06-07 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
31. The reason this is being covered up is Greece, like Turkey, was buying GOP Congressmen
Edited on Mon Aug-06-07 04:25 PM by leveymg
with Saudi money. About two weeks ago it finally came out that Thomas Kontogiannis' interest in the matter was arms transfers to his native Greece. The Saudis are lurking in the background of this, as usual, apparently as bankers for the deal.

Mr. Kontogiannis is an agent for the Greek military, which we are told was seeking backroom business with General Dynamics and other U.S. defense contractors. See, http://news.aol.com/story/_a/disgraced-former-us-rep-du...

This is just another side of the same scandal that snared Dennis Hastert, Jerry Lewis, and several dozen other Republican big-wigs and ranking members of various committees, along with the CIA #2, Dusty Foggo. This appears to be part of the Amerrican tie-in to the monster scandal in the UK involving BAE, a big British (and US) defense contractor, the Saudi Royal family, and an $80 billion slush fund, Yamamah ("The Dove", rhymes with "Ya mama"), which has been buying western politicians for years.

Consider this from Josh Marshall:


http://beta.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2006_03...
03.09.06 -- 4:53PM // link

Another piece of the puzzle.

Remember Thomas Kontogiannis? He's the larger than life twice-convicted Greek-born real estate developer who is better known in Duke Cunningham's plea agreement as co-conspirator #3.

If you look through the Duke files, Kontogiannis' role was mainly as a pass through for large sums of money. Yes, he gave bribes and of course he was involved in a boat transaction with Duke. But in the Cunningham corruption club that was almost a rite of passage.

Now, from the records, one of things that Kontogiannis wanted from Duke was some help trying to beat the rap (and later get a pardon for) a bid-rigging scandal back in New York. And for a long time I'd always sort of figured that Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade were the real players in this story, with Kontogiannis just added in for comic relief and -- as someone who controlled a mortgage company -- someone who could easily move money around.

But I'm hearing it may not be that simple.

Consider this. Mitch Wade was in naval intelligence before he left to work in the fraud and public corruption sector. Brent Wilkes -- and we're going to be hearing a lot more about this -- was deep into the darker regions of the intel world. Both of their scams were the same, plying the government contracting biz deep in the classified realm where scrutiny and oversight is minimal at best.

Now you have the third player Thomas Kontogiannis (#4 was Kontogiannis' nephew. So I'll consider him an extension of his uncle.). Given the background and habits of the other two, is this guy really just a real estate developer from Long Island?

Consider this passage from a piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune that I excerpted back in November ...

In a previously undisclosed link between Cunningham and Kontogiannis, the developer accompanied the congressman to Saudi Arabia last year. A Saudi-American businessman flew Cunningham to Saudi Arabia twice last year aboard a private jet. On the second trip, the jet stopped in Athens to pick up Kontogiannis, a native of Greece with businesses interests in several countries. Ziyad Abduljawad, founder and chairman of San Diego-based PLC Land Co., paid for Cunningham's two trips to Saudi Arabia, each at a cost of more than $10,000. Cunningham has described Abduljawad as an acquaintance who shares his interest in improving U.S.-Saudi relations.

Kontogiannis "went as a friend of Duke's," said Harmony Allen, Cunningham's chief of staff. "That's the extent of it. Duke asked him to go as a friend. I'm not sure if (Kontogiannis) had a special interest (in visiting) Saudi Arabia or not."

It was unclear who paid for Kontogiannis' trip.

What's that about? Cunningham going to Saudi to smooth the edges of the clash of civilizations? Brings Kontogiannis along to help with the outreach?

Just how did Kontogiannis get into the mix with Wilkes and Wade? What's Kontogiannis's real line of work?


The answer to that last question is here:

http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000391.php

Cunningham, Felon Met With Saudi Crown Prince
By Justin Rood - April 17, 2006, 1:06 PM Over the weekend, a new profile by Copley News Service added to our understanding of former GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's "Co-conspirator #3," the mysterious Thomas Kontogiannis. Today, we can add a bit more. Recall that Kontogiannis bribed Cunningham through purchasing a yacht from the congressman -- and paying several hundred thousand dollars more than it was worth. His finance company also handled some of Cunningham's questionable mortgages. But reporters and investigators have struggled to understand what Kontogiannis was getting from Duke for all the money he spent on the lawmaker. The latest theory seems to be that Duke was introducing him to world leaders. As Copley reports:

Cunningham "introduced him to people. It was like he had a congressman on retainer," added.

The Copley story notes that he twice accompanied Cunningham to the White House, and kept a picture of himself meeting President Bush in his house. Now, TPMmuckraker has learned he apparently met the man who would shortly become king of Saudi Arabia. It's been known that Kontogiannis, a wealthy businessman and two-time felon, in 2004 accompanied Cunningham and a Saudi constituent, San Diego real estate mogul Ziyad Abduljawad, to Saudi Arabia. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) also went. Abduljawad paid for the trip. Until now, we haven't known much about the trip -- who the group met with, why, what they talked about. Cunningham is said to have gone in order to promote U.S.-Saudi ties, or some other such pap. Beyond that, we've had nothing. I called Calvert last week to ask him more about the trip. (He's the only one of the crew who's talking these days: Cunningham's in the pen, Abduljawad declined an interview, Tommy K's lawyer doesn't return calls.) Calvert's memory wasn't perfect, but he had some details to share. The group met with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah -- then the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, and now its king. Kontogiannis was at the meeting, Calvert recalled, although "he didn't say anything, as I remember," the lawmaker told me. Copley now tells us its sources say Tommy K's purpose "appeared to center on an oil business he owned in Europe." That's not much to go on. The group also met with "ministers of various government institutions within Saudi Arabia," Calvert said. He recalled Kontogiannis being present for "some" of those meetings. As for what was discussed, Calvert recalled only that a number of the ministers pressed Cunningham to help ease post-9/11 restrictions on student visas for Saudis. With Abdullah, Calvert said the discussion was "primarily social," and "trying to build a better relationship with the United States." Now a U.S. citizen, Kontogiannis is worth about $70 million, Copley reporter Joe Cantlupe tells us. He spent over $300,000 on Cunningham. "What Kontogiannis, 59, got from the relationship with Cunningham remains unclear," Cantlupe writes, but notes that the businessman visited the White House twice with the Duke. And now we know they visited the Saudi crown prince together also. Was that it? He bought Cunningham -- a well-positioned but hardly towering member of the U.S. House -- to meet world leaders? Permalink | TOPICS: Duke Cunningham
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