Democratic Fundraiser Hassan Nemazee Charged With Fraud

Associated Press
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NEW YORK, Aug. 25 -- A wealthy investment banker and prominent fundraiser for President Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top Democrats was arrested Tuesday on charges that he lied to get a $74 million business loan.

Prosecutors accused Hassan Nemazee of giving Citibank "fraudulent and forged" documents showing that he owned millions of dollars in collateral. A criminal complaint also accuses Nemazee of providing false verifying information for financial institutions, including a phone number that actually belonged to him.

Prosecutors said FBI agents stopped the 59-year-old financier on Sunday at Newark Liberty International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Rome. They said he paid off the $74 million loan the next day.

At a brief session in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, a judge ordered a haggard-looking Nemazee locked up for the night. His attorney won assurances from prosecutors that he would be fitted with an electronic monitoring device and put under house arrest on Wednesday as part of a $25 million bail package, secured by property including a $20 million Park Avenue apartment.

Nemazee, chairman and chief executive of New York-based Nemazee Capital, was national finance co-chairman for Clinton's presidential bid last year, and after her primary defeat he raised money for Obama. In 2004, he worked for the presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as New York state finance chairman.

A Clinton spokesman didn't immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton picked Nemazee to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina, but his nomination was never confirmed.

Nemazee, who did not enter a plea or speak at the court hearing, faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine if convicted.

According to Nemazee Capital's Web site, the firm invests in several areas including health care, insurance and real estate.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company