February 14, 2008

More on Frank Guistra and William Clinton's tentacles

Clinton Foundation Faces Questions About Potential Donor Conflicts

After traveling with former president Bill Clinton to meet the Kazakhstani president, a Canadian mining magnate secured a lucrative uranium deal there and later donated a total of $131.3-million to Mr. Clinton’s charity, reports The New York Times.

A fledgling company put together by Frank Giustra, a personal friend of Mr. Clinton’s, gained the rights to mine uranium deposits in Kazakhstan two days after he and Mr. Clinton met with the country’s president in late 2005. Last year, another firm agreed to pay $3.1-billion to acquire Mr. Giustra’s company. He would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that two years earlier had traded at 10 cents per share, reports the Times.

In 2006, months after the deal, Mr. Giustra gave $31.3-million to the William J. Clinton Foundation; he more recently pledged $100-million to the organization.

The events raise questions about whether Mr. Clinton influenced the president of Kazakhstan to favor Mr. Giustra in the uranium deal.

Mr. Giustra tells the newspaper that his friendship with Mr. Clinton “has not directly affected any of my business transactions.” A spokesperson for Mr. Clinton says that the former president did not facilitate the deal.

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