Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk, the largest individual donor to the Clinton Foundation, may have violated U.S. sanctions against Iran while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Newsweek reports.
Pinchuk declined to talk to Newsweek for the story, but now says it is incorrect and potentially libelous, Fox News Channel reported Wednesday.
Newsweek reports that it has seen documents that Pinchuk's Interpipe Group, based in Cyprus, shipped goods to Iran in 2011 and 2012 despite the U.S. embargo. The shipments included "railway parts and products commonly used in the oil and gas sectors," according to Newsweek.
Both of those sectors fall under the sanctions, which prohibit a single invoice of more that $1 million. One of the invoices in May 2012 was for $1.8 million worth of "seamless hot-worked steel pipes for pipelines."
Interpipe's U.S. subsidiary North American Interpipe Inc. could qualify it for penalties for violating the sanctions, Newsweek reported. Non-U.S. companies also qualify for penalties if their actions are judged to be counter to U.S. foreign policy.
The secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton, was in charge of the list of non-U.S. companies, Newsweek noted.
Newsweek said it also has seen a copy of a November 2014 letter to the Treasury Department in which now-retired Republican Rep. Steve Stockman questioned Interpipe's business with Iran.
In the letter, Stockman talks about a "body of evidence" on "exports from Interpipe to Iranian entities" that "may have contravened U.S. sanctions to Iran," Newsweek reported.
"To me this is an emblematic story about the way the Clintons do business, the way they've done business for a long time since their days in Arkansas, all of the way to the present," Wall Street Journal reporter Bret Stephens told Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File"
"If Hillary Clinton has a theme song for the campaign, it should be 'Blurred Lines,' Stephens said. "Here we see a perfect example of blurring of functions of secretary of state."
Newsweek's story appeared on its website on Saturday, but has received scant attention from other media since, Fox News' Megyn Kelly said.
She pointed to Newsweek's opening paragraph, which reads, "Enemies of Hillary Clinton waiting to discredit her bid for the White House are likely to seize on news that one of the biggest benefactors to the Clinton Foundation has been trading with Iran and may be in breach of U.S. sanctions imposed on the country."
Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz said that made it appear that Newsweek was trying to undermine its own scoop by saying it would be fodder for Clinton's political enemies.
It is "as if Newsweek's editors couldn't bear to say this is bad news for Hillary Clinton," Kurtz said.
Newsweek isn't doing much to promote a major story that raises questions about a "giant back door" for big donors, he said.
"I went on Newsweek's website, and I had to scroll down and hunt around to find a tiny headline," Kurtz said.
The story comes just as the coming book, "Clinton Cash," by Peter Schweizer, has media talking about the Clinton Foundation's ties to foreign donors.
If Newsweek's reporting is right, even Democrats won't be happy with Clinton, Kelly said.
If "the Clinton Foundation took the money and did not enforce the sanctions law against the guy who donated the money because the guy giving money to Iran also gave money to the Clintons … that's a direct undermining of President [Barack] Obama's policy," she said.
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