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Enron and Bill Clinton

Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM

I must admit to an error in my most recent article on the Enron scandal. Lovers of ex-President Bill Clinton will be overjoyed to find that Enron's top exec Ken Lay did not stay at the White House 11 times.

However, the bad news for those who still worship Mr. Clinton is that Enron not only donated $100,000 to Clinton's 1993 inauguration but, according to the records, also added an additional $25,000 to the Clinton 1993 celebrations.

The documented evidence shows that Enron did make it into the Clinton White House by special invitation. Senior Vice President Terrance H. Thorn had coffee with Bill Clinton on March 5, 1996.

Many of the other attendees of the Clinton White House coffee sessions also make up a long list of convicted criminals, arms dealers and bagmen for illegal DNC contributions.

For example, Wang Jun had coffee with Clinton in 1996. Wang is also the president of Poly Technologies, the largest arms trading firm owned by the People's Liberation Army. Poly Tech is currently banned from doing business in the United States after several of its top executives conspired to smuggle machine guns into the U.S. for sale to a major drug dealer – who later turned out to be a Customs agent posing as a gangster.

Charlie "Yah Lin" Trie, who was later convicted of illegally passing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign, brought Wang into the White House. Trie also gave an additional $645,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and most of this money was from illegal foreign sources.

Enron's association with the Clinton White House comes even closer to home when you consider the many corporate foreign trade trips paid for by your tax dollars. In 1994, Enron's CEO Ken Lay surfaced on a list of attendees wishing to travel to Russia with Ron Brown.

One person who did make the trade trip to Russia was Roger Tamraz. Interpol then wanted Tamraz, a Lebanese oil financier, for embezzling nearly $80 million from a Middle Eastern bank. Tamraz, who made most of his money selling Libyan oil, would later give more than $300,000 to the DNC after having coffee with Bill Clinton in the White House.

Russia was not the only target of Enron wheeling-and-dealing with the Clinton administration. Enron execs traveled on a profitable trade trip to India with Ron Brown, landing a major contract for a power plant. The India power plant deal later fell apart with allegations of illegal payments and bribery.

Enron also traveled in 1997 to Bosnia with Commerce Secretary Kantor in hopes of landing a U.S. taxpayer-backed energy deal in the war-torn state. According to the Chicago Tribune, Enron made a $100,000 donation to the DNC just days prior to the trade mission to the former Yugoslav province. Commerce Department documents clearly note that Enron was interested in the "Zagreb" portion of the trip.

Even in the last days of Bill Clinton, Enron execs were on the go. Enron traveled to South Korea with Commerce Secretary William Daley in 1999. Daley would go on to run Vice President Al Gore's failed bid for the White House in 2000.

The most damning evidence linking Bill Clinton and Enron to corruption is the documentation that shows Enron received U.S. taxpayer monies in order to finance a corrupt deal with Indonesia.

P.T. East Java Power Corp., which was then 50.1 percent owned by Enron, wanted to conclude a deal for a 500 megawatt power plant in East Java, Indonesia. The 20-year deal was later signed by Enron with P.T. PLN Persero (PLN), Indonesia's state-owned electric utility, which agreed to purchase the power from the natural-gas-fired plant.

According to Enron, the natural gas for the project was to be provided by Pertamina, Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas company. Commerce Department documents noted that Pertamina stalled the project with excessive demands for gas prices.

"Enron is now engaged with Pertamina over access to natural gas. These discussions may prove difficult," states a 1994 Commerce Department advocacy document.

"Enron is registered for OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) insurance," states the document, noting that the giant corporation obtained U.S. taxpayer-backed insurance if the Indonesian deal fell apart.

Ron Brown personally sought approval for the Enron electric power plants inside Indonesia. According to a personal letter directed to the Indonesian Minister for Trade and Industry, Brown endorsed two Enron deals for gas-fired power plants with the corrupt Suharto regime.

"Enron power, a world renowned private power developer, is in the final stages of negotiating two combined cycle, gas turbine power projects," wrote Brown in his 1995 letter.

"The first, a 500 MW plant in East Java, should bring commercial power generation by the end of 1997 if it can promptly negotiate a gas supply Memorandum of Understanding with Pertamina. The other project, a smaller plant in East Kalimantan, also awaits a gas supply agreement.

"I urge you to give full consideration to the proposals," concluded Brown to the Indonesian minister. In October 1995, Brown wrote another letter, this time to Hartarto Sastrosurarto, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Trade and Industry, pressing him to conclude the Enron power plant deals.

"I would like to bring to your attention a number of projects involving American companies which seem to be stalled, including several independent power projects. These projects include the Tarahan power project, which involves Southern Electric; the gas powered projects in East Java and East Kalimantan, which involves Enron," wrote Brown.

"Your support for prompt resolution of the remaining issues associated with each of these projects would be most appreciated," concluded Brown.

On Nov. 18, 1996, Enron CEO Ken Lay announced that the deal with Suharto was complete. According to Enron's public statement, the U.S.-led energy company had finally won the East Java Power project.

Yet the Enron success was clouded by allegations that the power plant deals were filled with kickbacks for the Suharto family. In October 1998, U.S. Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy wrote a diplomatic cable that he had recently met with Indonesian Director General of Electricity Endro Utomo Notodisoerjo.

"Commenting on corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN), Endro said that in the past there was no separation between 'power' (not electric but former first family power) and business. 'All the IPP's (Independent Power Projects) have a relation with power, and it is still going on,' added Endro."

According to State Department documents, Enron signed on to a deal filled with "corruption, collusion and nepotism." One State Department cable included an entire section titled "Dealing with unwanted partners" that detailed corruption inside the two Enron power plants at East Kalimantan and East Java.

"Unocal executives told resources officer that the firm is close to reaching a deal with its partner, PT Nusamba (controlled by former President Soeharto crony Bob Hasan) to sever ties in two production sharing contracts (PSC) in East Kalimantan and East Java," notes the State Department cable.

Eventually, the Indonesian economy collapsed and Suharto was overthrown. The resulting economic mess forced Indonesia to default on its payments for the Enron power plants. The U.S. taxpayer using its insurance, however, paid off Enron. One such policy for Enron was obtained through the World Bank Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency or MIGA.

"In June of this year, MIGA paid $15 million to Enron Java Power Co. for its investment in P.T. East Java Power Corporation in Indonesia," states the 2000 official public release from the World Bank.

"The venture was one of many suspended by the presidential decree of September 20, 1997, issued in response to the country's economic crisis," noted MIGA officials.

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I must admit to an error in my most recent article on the Enron scandal.Lovers of ex-President Bill Clinton will be overjoyed to find that Enron's top exec Ken Lay did not stay at the White House 11 times. However, the bad news for those who still worship Mr. Clinton is...
Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM
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