-By Warner Todd Huston
This is pretty funny… well, not so funny if you are The Illinois Review, one of our fine political news blogs in Illinois. Apparently billionaire Nadhmi Auchi has sent a threatening letter to the blog demanding that they delete an August 9 post linking Auchi to Democrat Senate candidate Alexi “the Mob Banker” Giannoulias.
The letter issued by attorneys Carter-Ruck demands that the August 9 piece be removed due to “defamatory and untrue allegations.” The letter also says that Carter-Ruck thinks that the source for the blog post was the Observer (of London) and the New York Times. Apparently the nitwits at Carter-Ruck didn’t actually READ the post in question, however. The actually source for the blog post is clearly featured at the top of the body copy. Any fool can see that the blog post came “from the IL GOP,” as is noted on the actual post itself. This is a press release from the Illinois Republican Party, not an Illinois Review authored piece.
So, why is Carter-Ruck and Nadhmi Auchi threatening to sue Illinois Review when all they did was post a Party press release? Who knows?
Here is the ILL. GOP’s full press release:
While most voters believe Alexi Giannoulias brings little to no formal foreign policy experience to the U.S. Senate race, the Illinois Republican Party believes it is unfair to exclude Giannoulias’ rich international banking experience from the debate – especially the recently revealed Broadway Bank loan to Iraqi billionaire and convicted felon Nadhmi Auchi.
It’s not easy for random community banks in Chicago to help finance international projects for former associates of Saddam Hussein. It takes years of experience loaning money to criminals along with hard-working intermediaries like Tony Rezko.
Just to get a flavor of the kind of experience Nadhmi Auchi might have shared with Alexi Giannoulias, here’s a brief biography:
In 1996, Belgium’s Ambassador to Luxembourg claimed that the Banque Continentale du Luxembourg, which was jointly controlled by Auchi and BNP Paribas until 1994, had handled the personal bank accounts of Saddam Hussein.
In 1993, Pierfrancesco Battaglia, an Italian banker, swore in a statement that Auchi had bribed members of the Hussein government in order to secure the rights to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. For this service, Auchi was paid “millions of dollars” in commissions, according to Battaglia. Battaglia called Auchi “one of the most important intermediaries in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries.”
In 1980, Auchi was the middleman in a billion dollar sale of Italian naval warships to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Auchi received a $23 million commission on the sale.
Auchi is barred from entering the United States and is deemed an undesirable alien by the State Department. Rezko attempted to intercede on Auchi’s behalf in November of 2005. According to federal prosecutors, “Rezko directly appealed to the State Department and, it appears, asked certain Illinois government officials to do the same.” He was ultimately unsuccessful.
In 2003, Nadhmi Auchi was convicted in France on counts of fraud and bribery in connection to the Elf Aquitane scandal. Executives of Elf-Aquitane, a French state-owned oil company, were found to have looted the company for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Just as a reminder…
On February 14, 2006, Broadway Bank loaned $22,750,000 to Riverside District Development LLC, a company jointly owned by Nadhmi Auchi and Tony Rezko. The mortgage document was signed by Mohammed Al-Miqdadi, an employee of Auchi. At the time of the loan, Alexi Giannoulias was Vice President and Senior Loan Officer of Broadway Bank.
On March 15, 2006, Alexi Giannoulias told the Windy City Times: “I’m senior loan officer and vice president, so I oversee a $600 million loan department. I’m also chief investment officer and invest about $150 million.”
And, before you Carter-Rucksters begin to start addressing another threatening email this time to me, don’t bother. Your email will be ignored and THIS post will stay up. Just like the Illinois Review, THIS post is just reporting the news. If the allegations made against your client are false, that is YOUR problem. Not mine. You should take up your concerns with the Illinois GOP.
Still, don’t get your hopes up. Unlike your foreign experience, in America libel is properly hard to prove. Here we do not cotton to libel tourism as they cater to in England. Basically I’m telling you attorneys and your client Nadhmi Auchi to pound sand.