DEMOCRATIC BUNDLER IN BED WITH CONGOLESE WARLORD
OBAMA TRADE ADVISOR ACCUSED OF BUYING GOLD FROM WARLORD, STEALING FROM NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT
A prominent Obama administration trade advisor is one of the central players in a series of scandals and ethical rows that have reportedly placed him in cahoots with corrupt Congolese warlords and other questionable figures.
Kase Lawal, an oil mogul with longstanding ties to the Clinton family, was appointed in 2010 as a member of Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Since his selection to the trade board, Lawal has become enmeshed in a pact to purchase large quantities of illegal gold from a violent Congolese warlord, according to a U.N. investigation and various reports.
The crooked gold deal—as well as several other past scandals—raise concerns that the Nigerian-born Lawal is unfit to advise the White House about an issue as sensitive as global trade.
Lawal—founder of the oil and gas conglomerate CAMAC International—stands accused of transferring millions of dollars to Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel commander who has been linked by the International Criminal Court to a series of ethnic massacres and rapes. The deal, if verified, violates a U.N. ban on doing business with rogue Congolese warlords.
Originally brokered by the former NBA All Star Dikembe Mutombo, the deal commenced just months after Lawal was appointed the trade board, Stefaans Brummer reports in the Mail & Guardian.
The arrangement began innocently enough.
Mutombo approached Lawal in 2010 with an offer to purchase a lump of Kenyan gold valued at nearly $10 million. It soon became apparent that the true owner of the gold was the warlord Ntaganda.
The U.N. obtained a copy of the Powerpoint presentation that Lawal associates used to tout the deal.
“We will play the role of buyer initially in partnership with lead contact,” one presentation slide states. “Using the highest discretion and confidentiality is a priority.”
A series of text messages between Lawal and his confidant Carlos St. Mary, who played a principal role in the deal, reveal that Lawal was well aware that the gold originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lawal wasn’t deterred by that striking revelation.
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Just some run of the mill warlord