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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 07:46 PM
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The CIA and Riggs Bank

what may be the common denominator shared by Riggs, the Saudis, the Africans, and the South Americans: the Central Intelligence Agency

Citing unnamed U.S. government officials and people familiar with Riggs operations, Simpson reports that the bank has enjoyed a "relationship" with the CIA for some time. "That relationship, which included top current and former Riggs executives receiving U.S. government security clearances, could complicate any prosecution of the bank's officials, according to private lawyers and former prosecutors," he writes. By "complicate" one can safely assume that Simpson means "make impossible." He writes:

The relationship with the CIA could prove problematic because it could cast a different light on the bank's dealings with two U.S. foreign-policy allies, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Given the intelligence connections to Riggs, prosecutors could be faced with proving that the bank's failure to disclose financial activity by the foreign officials wasn't implicitly authorized by parts of the U.S. government.

Bandar briefed Treasury Secretary John Snow in early 2003 about the work he'd done for the CIA, Simpson notes. The parapolitical credits on the prince's resume include funding the Contras at the behest of the White House, supporting the Afghan rebels against the Soviet Union, and serving as a go-between in the mending of the Libya-U.S. relationship. The CIA worked with Pinochet through his secret police chief, Manuel Contreras, Simpson reports, adding that Contreras banked at Riggs as recently as 1979.

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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:03 PM
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1. Can't prosecute the CIA and Saudi/Bush royal family as usual.
I sympathize with the law enforcement people who find that the higher they go up the chain of criminals, the less they can do as all roads lead to the White House and its support system.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:16 PM
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2. Who set these people up over us with all this secrecy. We are
serfs to these people and their playthings which happen to be the world and its riches and damned be the ignorant and blessed be their contributions that allow us to function.

So the Washington Post is the CIA's paper as the Washington Times is the DOD's paper?

I hadn't had time to read about Riggs over the holidays - there are probably many like me.

So I kick this up.
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fearnobush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 10:06 PM
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3. I'd like to see the MSM just mention the Jonathan Bush Riggs Bank
connection just once. After all, he was a high ranking offical there.
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reprehensor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 01:30 PM
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:28 PM
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5. The Spook Bank More on the Riggs-CIA connection.

By Jack Shafer
Posted Monday, Jan. 10, 2005, at 7:37 PM PT


Simpson reports how the Riggs-CIA "relationship," which goes back some time, may foil the prosecution of alleged money-launderers employed by the bank. (Riggs admitted no wrong-doing last year when regulators fined it $25 million for violating currency laws.) The connection, Simpson writes, puts the government in the unenviable position of convincing juries that the "bank's failure to disclose financial activity by the foreign officials wasn't implicitly authorized by parts of the U.S. government."


On Friday, April 21, 1961, for example, two days after the surrender of the exile invasion force , two men in workclothesthey might have been taken for window washers, say, if not for their neat Ivy League haircutsapproached a teller in the DuPont Circle branch of the Riggs National Bank in Washington with an unusual request. They asked the teller for six to eight bank checks totaling well over $100,000 to be made out in the name of Arthur Avignon. The teller was not as surprised as he might have been. Men from the CIA often arrived quietly to inspect the financial records of certain local embassies, and the teller was also familiar with several oddly active accounts in the name of groups like the National Association of Loggers, the Dry Cleaners' Association, and so on. When he had asked about these strange accounts after first going to work at the branch he had been told frankly, "Oh, those are dummy accounts."


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'..... /
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:29 AM
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6. Move Indicates Criminal Charges Likely Against Ex-Riggs Executive
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 10:29 AM by seemslikeadream
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.

U.S. attorney's office spokesman Channing Phillips declined to comment on whether criminal action against Kareri is imminent. A source close to the case said yesterday's filing is a signal the government will file charges against Kareri soon unless Kareri enters into negotiations for a plea agreement.

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.


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