Who Waco! Probe Clinton's Ties To Riady to Rapoport to Why Waco!
Mochtar Riady and son James in 1994
(AP File Photo)
Indonesian businessman James Riady, a campaign contributor to President Clinton, has agreed to plead guilty to a single felony charge of conspiracy for federal election law violations, the U.S. Justice Department said. (Enny Nuraheni/Reuters)
~~~CONNECTING THE DOTS! - IT AIN'T OVER TILL IT'S OVER!~~~
"There is no Statute of Limitations on MURDER!"
See Who Waco!
Texas Ranger Report on Waco
Feds Probe Clinton's Ties To Riady (Read below for connection to Who Waco)
The link above is down as of 01/13/01
Monday July 24 8:43 PM ET
Feds Probe Clinton's Ties To Riady
By SONYA ROSS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal investigators looking into alleged
fund-raising abuses by Democrats questioned President Clinton extensively
about his ties to Indonesian businessman James Riady, dating back to his
1992 White House campaign.
In testimony released Monday, Clinton said he did not remember a 1992
limousine ride in which Riady purportedly pledged to funnel $1 million in
donations to his campaign.
``I don't have a specific recollection of what the conversation was,
or this fact of the car ride,'' the president said. He said he only remembered
seeing Riady ``sometime in '92 after I became the nominee,'' and that Riady
pledged to help his campaign.
When pressed as to whether he could specifically recall Riady's $1
million promise, Clinton replied: ``I don't. I don't. And I don't know whether
he ever gave that much money. ... If he said a million, I'm surprised I don't
A 155-page transcript of Clinton's four-hour testimony, taken April
21, was released late Monday by the White House without comment.
A Justice Department task force is looking into whether Riady, as
a foreign national, worked illegally to funnel campaign contributions to Clinton's
According to an FBI summary released last year, Democratic fund-raiser
John Huang, a Riady employee, said Riady ``rode in a limousine with ... Clinton,''
telling the then-Arkansas governor ``that he would like to raise $1 million.''
``Riady ... told Huang that President Clinton's reaction was one of
surprise when J. Riady said he would like to raise $1 million,'' the summary
Huang said that in the following weeks, Riady employees donated hundreds
of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party. He said he assumed the donors
had been reimbursed by Riady, as he had been.
In the testimony, Clinton flatly denied taking Riady into the White House
Situation Room in 1993, on the day that federal agents raided the Branch Davidians
compound near Waco, Texas. According to investigators, Riady used such anecdotes to
give government ministers in Indonesia the impression that his family ``had a
direct pipeline to the Oval Office.''
``I don't think I've ever taken anybody to the Situation Room,'' The president
said. ``I think that's highly unlikely.''
But Clinton also said he did not remember anything that happened that day.
``I did my best to go through the day to do my job, do what I was supposed to do,
'' he said.
Clinton and Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) were questioned by
investigators as part of the government's ongoing investigation into alleged
fund-raising abuses by Democrats.
In his testimony, released last month, Gore wrestled with the definition of
``fund-raiser,'' insisted there was no price tag placed on White House coffees and
denied knowing that the event he attended at a Buddhist temple in California was
actually a fund-raiser. The questioning focused on the 1996 campaign.
Clinton, however, was interrogated about his 1992 and 1996 campaigns, his
first encounters with Riady and Riady's father, Mochtar, and his process of deciding
whom to tap for administration jobs and commission posts.
When investigators asked about the size of Riady's pledged donation - and the
fact that Clinton seems to have forgotten such a large contribution - the president
said such activities are commonplace.
``Sometimes people give that much money. I know in an election or two ago
that one of the Republicans got that much money from one source,'' Clinton said.
``So, it happens from time to time and it's not unlawful. But I, I just don't
Clinton's testimony contained scant references to Gore, the presumptive
Democratic presidential nominee this year, and dealt mainly with whether he agreed
that the coffees were his idea, not Gore's. ``If he said that, I wouldn't disagree
with that,'' the president said.
He defended the coffees as innocent activity, saying he saw nothing wrong
with them because he also was holding issues-oriented coffees at that time.
``And I still do some of them, but mostly in the late afternoon, unrelated to
the (Democratic National Committee),'' Clinton said. ``I liked them and they were
easy on me.''
The task force also questioned the president about a vacation he and first lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton took at Camp David, Md., during the July 4th holiday in 1993,
approximately a week after aide Webster Hubbell purportedly accepted $100,000 from
a Riady entity. Clinton denied that Hubbell mentioned anything about working for Riady.
``The only thing I remember about that vacation was that I took a long walk with
him (Hubbell) and I asked him if he was in trouble,'' Clinton said. ``And he said no,
he was having a billing dispute with a law firm and he would resolve it. That's the
searing memory I have about that.''
Clinton hotly denied telling Riady of concerns about payments to Hubbell because
Hubbell might end up as a witness in an investigation. Such a conversation ``would
have made Mr. (independent counsel Kenneth) Starr happy,'' he said.
``Webb Hubbell was persistently persecuted by the independent counsel because he
would not lie about me or Hillary,'' Clinton said. ``I never worried about what Webb
Hubbell would say. If he wanted to say something bad about me, he'd have to make it up.''
RE: Who Waco! Probe Clinton's Ties To
Riady to Rapoport to Why Waco!
Justice Department investigation should target UT campus
Justice Department investigation should target UT campus
Clayton Vernon TEXAN COLUMNIST
According to The New York Times, former UT System Regents Chairman
Bernard Rapoport hired Webster Hubbell for a joint venture with the
Riady family in Indonesia during the brief time before Hubbell's federal
imprisonment. This shocker should end naive beliefs that the cozy and
profitable relationships between the individuals who ran this system and
Indonesian interests was above-board.
Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr is investigating these and other
enormous payments, totaling $400,000, to determine if they were
"hush money" related in any way to Hubbell's decision to not
cooperate with federal investigators. Appearances of impropriety
include frequent visits to Hubbell in prison by the Clintons'
close personal friends, to remind him the Clintons still "cared."
The Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate run by the Riadys,
helped introduce since-disgraced fund-raiser John Huang to the
Clinton administration, which later endorsed Rapoport's $2 billion
Chinese real-estate project. Rapoport's public service to
Texas served his private interests well. Clinton has claimed
ignorance of these "indefensible" payments from his good friends
and his best friend.
We can no longer deny the coinciding of Rapoport's sudden
interest in hiring Hubbell as his lawyer, and the large consulting
compensation paid to UT System Chancellor William Cunningham by
Jim Bob Moffett and Freeport-McMoRan -- a large and
controversial corporate presence in Indonesia.
We now expect the Justice Department's investigation to shift south,
to the Democratic Leadership Council. This group was co-founded by
Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, who helped Moffett intimidate our
faculty last year. This cozy relationship suggests our system
administration lacks integrity.
This sad possibility is supported by other events. Last year, we lost
a "whistle-blower" lawsuit in which a plaintiff alleged the University
deliberately undercollected royalties from oil and gas producers
with ties to administrators.
Now there are allegations of administrators being forced to
contribute to the DNC.
Students, faculty and staff are completely unaware of the alleged sleazy
machinations. Perhaps our traditional reliance on the Democratic Party's
support of higher education has left us vulnerable to its recent
Perhaps UT President Robert Berdahl had some of these consideration in
mind when he accepted the chancellorship at Cal-Berkeley. Berdahl is a
man of principle, he may have felt totally out of place within the
highest levels of the UT System.
Vernon is a graduate student in economics.
Non-professional 90-minute audio tape tells story of Republic of
Texas, added to this tape are cuts of information of Bill Clinton's
connection to the Illuminati. This information has never been released
because of the most certain death that will occur to those who are in
the know. This is a judge for yourself, real interviews with various
inside contacts that have told various parts of who pulled the trigger
on the Branch Davidian's and the connections. Shocking, to say the
least. In Bill Clinton's own words he thanks his friend of 25 years,
Bernard Rapoport of Waco, Texas. The reported illuminati controller
of Texas, if not the entire United States as revealed on tape.
As best as I can find it was Bernard Rapoport who sells all
the life insurance to Teamsters Union members and is of
course connected to the Chicago Mafia, Dan
Rostenkowski, Hillary Clinton, Hubbell, Dan Lasater,
Mochtar Riady, John Huang, the Chinese Communist and
the whole Opium-China-CIA connection going back I guess
to the Boxer rebellion.
You guys are only just scratching the surface with Rapoport. Get to his buddy
Doc Peelwani, the guy who did the Autopsies at Waco, as is the same guy who
certified Jim McDougal's death in a Texas prison.
Posted on 09/01/1999 05:52:34 PDT by Gypsy II
Now please read APFN WHY WACO PAGES:
SPECIAL REPORT: LIPPO-SUCTION
Waco Coverup Demands Concern
by Gary Palmer
Exemption law helped U.S. win Davidian case
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HUBBELL TIED TO CHINA PROJECT ENDORSED BY ADMINISTRATION
In the months after Webster Hubbell was forced to resign to face a criminal investigation in 1994, the former associate attorney general received more than $400,000 from about a dozen enterprises, including the organizers of a multibillion-dollar development in China that received the endorsement of the Clinton administration, according to associates of Hubbell and to government records. Some payments to Hubbell came from businesses controlled by old friends and campaign donors of President Clinton, according to the friends and witnesses interviewed by investigators. Many of those who paid Hubbell, a former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton and one of the Clintons' closest friends, were regulars at the White House fund-raising coffees or overnight guests in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Clinton has denied knowing anything about the Lippo payment to Hubbell. Earlier this month, Davis, the special White House counsel, said Clinton "never asked or suggested that anyone hire Webb Hubbell." But he added that Clinton thinks that "at some point he may have heard Bernard Rapoport (Waco, TX) or Truman Arnold (Texarkana, AR), or both, who are old friends of the president . . . hired or intended to hire Mr. Hubbell."
In March 1997 the White House confirmed that President Clinton knew that two longtime political supporters and Democratic fund-raisers, Truman Arnold and Bernard Rapoport, had hired Webster Hubbell in 1994, when the former associate attorney general was under criminal investigation. The White House made the disclosure after one of the businessmen, Bernard Rapoport, said that he had told people at the White House -- possibly including Bill Clinton -- about his payments to Hubbell.
http://www.empower.org/_private/Backup%20of%20old%20Empower.org%20site/html/policy/misc/roadmap3.htm Site down 1/7/09
Times says one $100,000 payment to Hubbell came just days after James Riady visited the
Riady Will Admit Illegal Donations Plea Deal Provides Fine, No Jail Term
Campaign Finance Key Player: The Lippo Group
The Riadys' Persistent Pursuit of Influence
By Sharon LaFraniere, John Pomfret and Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 27, 1997; Page A01
April 19, 1993, was a tense day at the White House. After a lengthy standoff, the FBI planned to pump tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex. At stake were the lives of dozens of federal agents and the nearly 80 men, women and children holed up inside. The White House situation room was on full alert.
It was not too busy, however, for President Clinton to spend some time with James Riady and John Huang of Indonesia's Lippo Group conglomerate. The two had been cleared in that morning for their fifth White House visit in a week. Riady, Huang and an associate, Mark Grobmyer, chatted with Clinton in his study just off the Oval Office shortly after 5 p.m., while in the background Clinton's television replayed scenes of the failed FBI raid that led to scores of deaths.
Riady later told government ministers back home in Jakarta about his chat with the preoccupied president that breezy afternoon, saying that Clinton even showed him the situation room. Such anecdotes helped Riady create the impression, true or not, that his family had a direct pipeline to the Oval Office, and that perception seems to have enhanced Lippo's prestige in the eyes of at least some government officials in Asia.
To the Riadys, that was worth all the money and effort they spent cultivating official Washington, according to former Lippo executives, Indonesian government officials and others who know the family and the massive conglomerate they own. And that could answer a question that has dogged investigators ever since the controversy over Democratic fund-raising practices broke last fall: What did the Riadys stand to gain from their remarkable courtship of an American president and his political party?
Without the link to Clinton, the Riadys were prominent businessmen, but they were also ethnic Chinese in a country that deeply mistrusts the Chinese. As successful as they were, therefore, they had little chance of gaining admittance to President Suharto's inner circle, and that limited Lippo's chance to win billions of dollars in contracts he hands out to friends and family members.
The Clinton connection changed all that. It put the Riadys in the category of a potential back channel to the White House should the Indonesian government or the Chinese government ever desire it. "Riady's goal was to sell his relationship with Clinton to two governments, Indonesia and China," said one former Lippo executive, who asked not to be identified.
Rarely has a foreign-based corporation cultivated a U.S. president so aggressively. The Riadys, who got to know Clinton in the early 1980s during a Little Rock business venture, did all they could to strengthen that relationship once Clinton was elected. They and their business associates contributed more than $700,000 to the Democratic Party since 1991, including a $450,000 contribution from a business partner's family that was returned last year as possibly illegal. The Riadys also hired one of Clinton's closest friends. They hosted events for three groups of U.S. commerce and trade officials who traveled to Jakarta. In the National Portrait Gallery sits a life-size bronze bust of Clinton donated in the Riadys' honor. Typical of their efforts was an offer to fly a Little Rock contingent to the 1994 economic summit in Indonesia's capital city in case Clinton "would like to see some Arkansans while he was over there," a White House aide has said.
If the Riadys hoped to use their ties to Clinton to gain direct benefits from the U.S. government, however, the evidence is well hidden. In contrast to Asia, where Lippo has extensive dealings with government officials at every level, the firm's U.S. operations are minor. In fact, the Midas touch that Lippo patriarch Mochtar Riady displayed in Indonesia, Hong Kong and China seems to have failed him here. The firm has floundered in its effort to develop a U.S. bank specializing in international trade, and while it has teamed up with some U.S. companies on Asian business ventures, they require little U.S. government aid.
Indonesia is another story. In Jakarta, Lippo has approached the Suharto regime for almost everything from critical building permits to outright financial bailouts. And in China, where Lippo is investing heavily, the firm is equally if not more dependent on official support because government ministries own the companies that are Lippo's partners.
When Clinton was elected president, the Riadys saw a chance to gain more leverage with the governments in Beijing and Jakarta, according to associates of the family. One former executive recalled James Riady's pitch when Lippo hosted a delegation of Chinese officials in Jakarta in 1993. "James told them if they ever needed a special word passed to the White House, he or his father would be happy to do it," the executive said.
In their contacts with Clinton, the Riadys pressed the views of the Chinese and Indonesian governments. In early 1993, Mochtar Riady sent the president a four-page letter, urging him to renew China's trading privileges and to support Suharto in his desire to attend the Group of Seven economic summit later that year. Clinton recalls that James Riady also tried to persuade him to meet Suharto at the 1993 Tokyo summit a meeting Clinton granted after his top foreign policy advisers recommended it. And in a 1996 Oval Office meeting, James Riady urged Clinton to stick to his policy of separating the issue of China's trading privileges from human rights concerns.
The Riadys offered others as messengers too, including Mark Grobmyer, with whom Lippo worked closely, and Webster L. Hubbell, who was paid $100,000 by Lippo after leaving the Clinton Justice Department. In early 1993, James Riady arranged for Grobmyer, a Little Rock lawyer and longtime friend of Clinton, to spend 1 1/2 hours with Suharto in Jakarta. An official with Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said Riady insisted that Grobmyer "had the ear of President Clinton."
"He said the meeting would give us special access to the White House. Suharto's people were interested in this access so they met with him," the official said.
After his trip, Grobmyer wrote Clinton about Suharto's desire to address the economic summit. He noted that the Riadys had scheduled meetings for him with top Indonesian officials and attached a thank-you letter for Clinton to send James, describing Grobmyer's insights as "very helpful." Clinton didn't send it, but James Riady gave Suharto's aides a copy of Grobmyer's letter to Clinton as proof of his family's influence, according to the Foreign Ministry official.
The Riadys also promoted Hubbell at Suharto's presidential palace as someone "influential with Bill Clinton," said another Indonesian official. After Hubbell resigned from the Justice Department amid allegations of fraud, James Riady arranged for him to tour Indonesia.
Riady made sure that Hubbell, like Grobmyer, visited the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where Indonesian security forces have been accused of widespread human rights abuses. Riady "said letting a friend of Clinton's see Timor might help change U.S. policy. So naturally we thought it was a good idea," the official said.
Indonesian officials who traveled to Washington saw tangible proof of Lippo's White House access. In April 1993, James Riady escorted the governor of Jakarta to the East Wing for a meeting on which the White House can provide no details. He also took Wardiman Djojonegoro, the Indonesian minister for education, to the Oval Office in September 1994 to hear Clinton give his radio address. About that time, Djojonegoro's ministry granted Lippo a license to operate an international school at one of its property developments.
And Riady accompanied Hartarto Sastrosoenarto, Indonesia's coordinating minister for production and one of Suharto's most influential advisers, to the White House for a September 1995 lunch. Joining them was John Huang, who had left Lippo for the Commerce Department the previous year, and Mark E. Middleton, a former mid-level presidential aide who continued to use the White House Mess to entertain clients and friends. Two months later, the Indonesian government arranged for a group of private companies to rescue Lippo during a financial crunch.
"These trips helped Lippo improve their ties to the Suharto regime," said the former Lippo executive. "As a result, Suharto helped rescue them when they needed help."
Neither the Riady family nor their representatives would comment for this article.
U.S. officials insist that neither the Indonesians nor the Chinese needed Riady as a backdoor emissary because diplomatic and other official channels were wide open. Suharto's powerful aide, Hartarto, for example, has little trouble getting on the schedule of U.S. Cabinet secretaries. "I don't think the Indonesian government found any need to use the Riadys as intermediaries to the U.S. government," said Robert Barry, an appointee of President George Bush who served as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia from 1992 through mid-1995.
Still, Suharto was seeking greater recognition in the world, and the U.S. government was signaling that problems like Indonesia's human rights abuses and poor treatment of workers stood in the way of better relations. U.S. officials acknowledge that the perception that James Riady had special access to Clinton could be of great value to Lippo. "From the Asian perspective, personal relationships are more important than anything else," said one senior administration official.
Said another former administration official who dealt extensively with Indonesia "I think James Riady had a particular cachet that other people didn't have."
The Family Empire
The Lippo logo two bright red infinity signs is ubiquitous in Indonesia. Besides the banks and financing firms at Lippo's core, the company manufactures textiles and electronic products. It mines coal, sells insurance and builds shopping centers, housing developments and hospitals. Lippo's flagship, Lippo Limited, publicly discloses assets of $3.6 billion. In Jakarta, locals joke that Lippo stands for Lama-Lama Indonesia Pun Punya Oe, meaning: In the long run, even Indonesia will be mine.
Mochtar Riady, a charmingly genial man with an easy dignity, built the Lippo empire over four decades, beginning with a single bank. Now 68, he laid out his business philosophy in a 1984 interview with an Arkansas magazine: "Every network has to have its foundation laid on special, personal, human connections," he said. "What I am looking at is what my partners can offer in personal contacts and business connections."
The result of those connections today is a complex network of joint ventures with others from Suharto's half-brother to Wal-Mart. One count puts the number of Lippo's subsidiaries at 143. Its intricate structure, typical of Asian conglomerates, means "no one can really put the pieces together," said Stephen Chipman, former Asia director for the accounting firm of Grant-Thornton. "Probably the only people on this planet who really have a handle on the whole thing are the Riady family."
James Riady's estate outside Jakarta, one of at least three lavish homes he owns, is testimony to the success of his father's philosophy. A southern-style plantation manor in the middle of a Lippo-owned golf course, it is three stories tall, with soaring French windows and Greco-Roman columns. Inside is a multimillion-dollar art collection. Outside is a lake and pad for Riady's helicopter all ringed by a moat.
For all the Riadys' wealth, however, they are not in the top tier of politically connected Indonesian firms. A half-dozen or so others are closer to Suharto, and therefore more likely to benefit from his government's largess. Suharto has ruled Indonesia's 17,500 islands for 31 years, and his control of the world's fourth most populous nation is absolute. His relatives are some of the biggest beneficiaries of his power over commercial enterprises: Every television owner, for example, must pay a tax to a company owned by Suharto's oldest son.
Suharto's relatives are involved in some Lippo businesses, but Mochtar Riady's main contact with the Indonesian president is through his longtime patron, Liem Sioe Liong. Like much of Indonesia's business elite, Liem and Riady are ethnic Chinese, and they face the prejudice and resentment of the indigenous Indonesians known as pribumi.
Liem, sometimes described as Indonesia's richest business tycoon, has the advantage of a close, long-standing friendship with Suharto. But Mochtar Riady, who shed his Chinese name of Lee Mo Tie to fit in better with the pribumi, is "in the outside circle, trying to move inward," said one former administration official who specialized in Indonesia.
The Riadys may need good relations with the Suharto regime now more than ever because their financial empire appears not quite as secure as it once was. In late 1995, Lippo Bank's failure to make an inter-bank interest payment caused a run on the bank. Panicked depositors yanked out funds, and a group of private companies, at the behest of the state-owned Central Bank of Indonesia, came to Lippo's rescue.
That was followed by a financial restructuring last September that allowed the Riadys to pump $373 million into Lippo's ailing real estate development operations. Lin Che Wei, a financial analyst in Jakarta, sees Lippo as a carefully balanced house of cards, held up partly by the Riadys' practice of gobbling up shares of Lippo stock to drive up the price. "Riady is a master of this kind of game," said Lin, an analyst at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. "He understands what investors want a rising share price."
At the same time the Riadys are trying to maneuver closer to Suharto, the family is positioning itself with the Chinese government. In 1993, for instance, Riady and Huang arranged a trip to Atlanta so a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official involved in Beijing's bid to host the Olympics in 2000 could meet the team that put on the 1996 games.
The Chinese government has responded favorably to Lippo's overtures: China Resources, a wholly owned enterprise of China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, is now an equal owner with Lippo in Hong Kong Chinese Bank in Hong Kong. When Lippo was desperate for cash to bolster a struggling real estate development outside Jakarta, the Chinese firm came up with $26 million.
Lippo is setting up banks, building hotels, stores and offices and investing in cement factories in a half-dozen Chinese cities. In Fujian province, the ancestral home of Mochtar Riady's parents, Lippo plans a major development, an island temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of fishing. Lippo's plan calls for a vast office, tourist and industrial park, complete with food malls and golf courses.
The Riadys came to know Clinton by happenstance. When Mochtar Riady decided in the late 1970s to shop for a U.S. bank, Stephens Inc., a prominent investment banking house based in Little Rock, provided advice. Jack Stephens and Mochtar Riady hit it off, and the two families bought a controlling interest in Little Rock's Worthen Bank.
Mochtar Riady installed his confident and energetic middle son, James, as Worthen's co-president. The younger Riady, then just 28, didn't care much about politics, but "he was interested in people who were important because they were important," said a former Worthen executive who worked for him. A Stephens family member said Riady met then-Gov. Clinton for the first time over corn bread and grits at one of Jack Stephens's regular lunches at Stephens Inc. When Clinton traveled to Hong Kong in 1985, the Stephens and Riady families arranged a cruise of Hong Kong harbor, a dinner, a shopping trip and a cocktail reception.
Riady bought a house in a prestigious Little Rock neighborhood, where he entertained frequently, and seemed eager to pick up American customs an enthusiasm that occasionally led to improbable scenes. One ex-Worthen official recalls that at 10 one night, Riady showed up on his doorstep with a half-dozen Asian employees in shorts and black socks. They wanted to be taught basketball.
To the Riadys' disappointment, the Stephens partnership fell apart in 1986 after a New Jersey investment firm that owed Worthen $52 million went bankrupt. That spelled the end of the bank's international division. Bank examiners said it involved too much risk, and they criticized a number of insider loans to entities controlled by the Riadys and the Stephenses. The examiners found more than $40 million in loans or lines of credit to businesses in which the Riadys were either owners or investors.
Once he packed up in Little Rock, James Riady concentrated on a small, troubled retail bank in California that he bought in 1984. He spent $946,000 for a house in an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood and commuted from Jakarta.
But the Riadys were not much more successful in California than they were in Little Rock. Lippo Bank, as it is now called, has steadily lost money, staying afloat only because James Riady has poured in $26 million. Meanwhile, regulators have issued three "cease and desist" orders in the past seven years, citing sloppy management and questionable transfers of funds.
In 1990, bank examiners requested a criminal investigation after discovering that a 21-year-old teller made more than 900 suspicious wire transfers totaling $7 million to accounts at the Hong Kong Chinese Bank, owned by Lippo and China Resources. According to an examiner's memo, the teller routinely wired amounts of just under $10,000, the threshold at which transfers must be reported. Almost all the transfers were booked under phony names and initialed by a supervisor, according to congressional investigators. There is no indication that the bank's top echelon knew of the practice.
Roy Tirtadji, managing director of the Lippo Group, suggested in an interview last year that Lippo Bank suffered from neglect. "We didn't really pay much attention to the California bank," he said. "It was so small."
What did interest James Riady, increasingly, was developing U.S. political contacts. His representative was John Huang, who ran the Los Angeles-based bank. Huang and Maria Hsia, an Asian American fund-raiser in California, began raising money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the late 1980s. In an April 1988 memo sent to Hsia, Riady listed six senators he wanted to invite to Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He offered private dinners or luncheons hosted by his family.
Riady also specified the need for senators to urge Taiwan to loosen its banking regulations and allow Asian American banks, or at least his bank, to open branch offices there. It was one of the few times Riady seemed to be seeking a specific benefit from U.S. officials.
But Riady's efforts to play on the U.S. political scene in those years paled in comparison to the push his family made once Clinton was elected president in 1992. In a typical overture, Mochtar Riady flew to Little Rock to see Hillary Rodham Clinton receive an "Arkansan of the Year" award from the March of Dimes. He donated $50,000 on the spot.
Riady said in early 1993 that he was working closely with Grobmyer, the longtime Clinton friend who accompanied Riady on the first three of some 20 visits to the White House. Another contact was presidential aide Middleton, who cleared Riady to the Executive Mansion a half-dozen times. The Riady family's strongest connection to the administration was Huang, who moved from the Commerce Department to the Democratic National Committee after meeting with Clinton and James Riady in the Oval Office in September 1995.
With Huang's fund-raising activities now the subject of numerous investigations, the Riadys have lost the White House entree they worked so hard to win. But ironically, the controversy may have done more to enhance the family's reputation back in Asia than all the White House visits ever did.
"The interesting thing about this huge scandal is that it's giving them great face in Indonesia," said an American financier who works with an Asia-based firm. "It's working in the favor of the Riadys. People are saying, "It shows you how influential they are, how close they are to the seat of power.' "
Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie leaves federal court in February after pleading innocent (AP/Brian Diggs)
Use the profiles below, compiled from Washington Post and washingtonpost.com staff reports, to navigate the tangled web of fund-raising allegations. You can also test yourself with the matching game, search the database of people invited to the controversial Democratic National Committee-sponsored coffees and see who stayed overnight at the White House during Clinton's first term.
LIPPO GROUP: Names to read other profiles, or see the full list of key players.The Indicted:
Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie
Yogesh K. Gandhi
The Hsi Lai Temple
Webster L. Hubbell
John K.H. Lee
The Lippo Group
Ng Lap Seng
The Riady Family
Arief and Soraya Wiriadinata
JOHN HUANGS TESTIMONY BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE:
Opening Statement Chairman Dan Burton
Committee on Government Reform December 15, 1999
Clinton Admits Discussing
RED CHINA and THE AMERICAN
CRONY RIADY INVITES CLINTON TO JOIN LIPPO BOARD
Commercial Bank buying Lippo Bank
Commercial Bank of San Francisco has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Lippo Bank California from Indonesian businessman James Riady for $15.9 million in cash. The combined bank will have about $250 million in assets with branches in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.
Case studies of the Clinton curse
The Crimes Of An American President
Clinton, Riady and Huang
The Hubbell Rescue Mission
The White House seems to have a credible story, but what took so long, and why does it look so bad?
By Karen Tumulty/Washington
(TIME April 14) -- The President's friends need no help from his enemies when it comes to stirring theories of dark White House conspiracy. Last week the Clinton high command proved once again that if you fudge and deny and equivocate long enough, even coming clean can make you look dirty.
The issue at hand is the question that has most intrigued Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr of late: How is it that so many of the President's supporters happened to throw more than $400,000 in business to Webster Hubbell in the months after Clinton's best friend resigned from the No. 3 post at the Justice Department? One possibility: someone might have been trying to buy Hubbell's silence. Whitewater investigators seem to believe that Hubbell, as Hillary's former law partner, knows more than he has told them about her role in Whitewater. Last week, after months of expressing little knowledge and even less curiosity about the dealings of the former Associate Attorney General, the White House acknowledged that two top aides--former chief of staff Mack McLarty and Erskine Bowles, the man who now holds that job--had tried, with varying degrees of success, to line up work for Hubbell. McLarty even had vague recollections of mentioning to the First Lady that he was "concerned" about Hubbell and wanted to "be supportive" of the latest member of their transplanted Arkansas circle to meet with personal calamity. The efforts were, in the White House's telling of them, a mission born of no darker motive than sympathy. Bowles, then heading the Small Business Administration, had no long-standing ties to Hubbell, but was moved when he heard of his plight from then Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, who was himself making calls on Hubbell's behalf. "My dad raised me to help people when they were down," Bowles told the Wall Street Journal.
Had they known that Hubbell would eight months later plead guilty to fraud and tax evasion in bilking the Rose Law Firm and his former clients out of almost $500,000, they say they would never have put their own reputations on the line. But in the days after Hubbell resigned in April 1994, his situation had only tenuous connections to the broader Whitewater questions that were beginning to envelop the White House. Still to come, for instance, was the revelation that Hubbell had spirited Hillary's Whitewater-related records from the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, to his basement in Washington. Hubbell also continued to maintain his innocence even to the Clintons, who asked him point-blank about the accusations at a meeting at Camp David. "I was in denial," he told Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.
So the story that McLarty and Bowles now tell seems credible enough. What is hard to figure out is why it took them so long to come forward with it--and why Clinton's own statements have wandered from denial to ignorance to half answers. In January he said he had known nothing about Hubbell's being retained by the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate whose owners were long friendly with the President, until he read it in the newspaper late last year. Two months later Clinton conceded he had been aware as early as 1994 that such key political supporters as Texas businessmen Truman Arnold and Bernard Rapoport had given work to Hubbell, though he couldn't quite recall who told him. Now Clinton says Bowles and McLarty "were trying to help him for no other reason than just out of human compassion."
Compassion, perhaps, or maybe just cronyism, but nothing that Starr is likely to get a jury to see as obstruction of justice--a charge that is hard to prove even in the best of circumstances. Still, the questions probably won't stop anytime soon: both McLarty and Bowles received a subpoena from the independent counsel last week.
--With reporting by Viveca Novak/Washington
Friends In High Places
Friends of the President helped Webb Hubbell find other employment after he resigned as associate Attorney General Mickey Kantor Then U.D. Trade Representative
WHAT HE DID:
Reccomended Hubbel's son for a job with the Federal National Mortgage Association. Tried to set up a family trust fund.
Son got a job.
Michael Berman Lobbyist and friend of Hillary
WHAT HE DID:
Helped Hubbell get work with Time Warner, a Berman client
Paid $5,000. Berman donated $5000 to fund.
James Riady An old friend from Little Rock
WHAT HE DID:
After Riady visited the White House several times over five days, a company he controls hired Hubbell.
Mack McLarty Former White House chief of staff
WHAT HE DID:
Called Truman Arnold, a Texas oilman, to help find Hubbell a job. Bernard Rapoport gave Hubbell a job at the behest of Arnold.
Paid $18,000 by Rapoport. Hired by Arnold.
Erskine Bowles Then head of Small Business Admin.
WHAT HE DID:
At Kantor's suggestion, Bowles asked Allied Capital and a North Carolina law firm to consider hiring Hubbell.
Jack Williams Lobbyist for Arkansas firms
WHAT HE DID:
Helped Hubbell get a job with Pacific Telesis.
Amount paid unknown
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William Jefferson Clinton & Hillary Clinton
Jerome Zeifman, Drafting Counsel
for Nixon Impeachment, Drafts Clinton Impeachment
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