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Campaign Finance Key Player:
Roger Tamraz

This profile was compiled from Washington Post and washingtonpost.com staff reports. Click on linked names to read other profiles, or see the full list of key players.

From The Post:
Tamraz Defends Political Gifts for Clinton Access, Sept. 19, 1997
Pursuit of Presidential Access Was Also Pursuit of American Dream, Sept. 19, 1997
For DNC Donor, 'Resistance' Was Overcome, Sept. 9, 1997
• See Roger Tamraz's entry in our White House coffee database
Roger Tamraz is an Egyptian-American oil financier wanted in Lebanon on embezzlement charges. Tamraz and his company contributed about $300,000 to Democrats in 1995 and 1996. And despite objections by a National Security Council staff person, he received several White House invitations and attended a coffee with President Clinton.

Tamraz's contacts with White House and other government officials are the subject of several investigations. A federal grand jury is seeking to determine if anyone tried to bribe or pressure Clinton administration officials into supporting Tamraz and his proposal to build a $2.5 billion oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea, through parts of the former Soviet Union and Turkey, to the Mediterranean and Western markets.

After Tamraz talked to Clinton about his plan, senior White House aide Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty contacted an Energy Department official, who set in motion an effort to promote the Tamraz proposal within the government. McLarty said he never mentioned Tamraz's political contributions in his discussions with Energy Department officials.

The CIA is also investigating whether one of its officers arranged for a favorable intelligence report on Tamraz to be sent to the White House, allegedly in response to a request from former Democratic National Committee chairman Donald Fowler, so that Tamraz could attend events with President Clinton.

Tamraz has said he did nothing improper and that he has been cooperating with the inquiries.

Testifying before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Tamraz gave a colorful and unapologetic account of how money buys high-level political access in Washington and told the panel he would consider giving more money in the future to make sure he gained entree to the inner circles of government.

Asked by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) whether he thought he got his "money's worth" for the $300,000 he gave, Tamraz replied, "I think next time I'll give $600,000."

In September, French authorities secretly charged him with fraud for diverting as much as $47 million from a French bank he controlled, according to court documents. He is to go on trial this year.

Last updated March 4, 1998

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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