Money launderers who bragged on a secret federal wire tap that they could employ Clinton Foundation connections to funnel and cleanse millions in illicit cash have sparked a newly-minted FBI investigation into the embattled charity run by Hillary Clinton and her family, federal law enforcement officials confirm.
The money laundering allegations being probed by the FBI have been buoyed by recent revelations and evidence discovered by the NYPD from a laptop confiscated from Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Manhattan residence. According to NYPD, several of the emails recovered on the hard drive disclosed sensitive financial details of the Clintons and their charity. That evidence is now in the hands of the FBI too, whose New York field office has opened a parallel Clinton Foundation investigation.
Federal law enforcement sources said the Los Angeles-based money launderers, who are part of a separate federal investigation, discussed previously using Clinton Foundation personnel to domesticate foreign funds that could not be legally brought into the United States through traditional bank wires and deposits.
NYPD sources said Weiner’s email treasure trove contained correspondences regarding a company linked to President Bill Clinton and at least one offshore company, a South American affiliate of the Clinton Foundation. The emails also contained offshore financial correspondences, the source said.
Federal agents said one U.S.-based company is owned by Bill Clinton and according to linked banking intelligence discovered in emails, that entity disbursed millions of dollars via wire transfers through global banks to additional accounts controlled by the Clinton family and its charity. NYPD intelligence sources versed in anti-money laundering, said the emails and other items obtained from Weiner’s laptop paint a portrait of a complex corporate umbrella strategically formulated to seemingly operate and avoid law-enforcement detection.
“There’s sophistication in how this works and distributes cash to other accounts,” a federal intelligence source said. “Do we think this involves gun-running or drug-dealing criminals? Not intentionally, but the infrastructure is set up almost identically. Proceeds and income are being hidden the same way.”
Has the Clinton Foundation and/or affiliates underwritten or profited from terror groups? It is distinctly possible it has conducted business with terror-backed financial concerns, federal agents said based on a cache of suspicious financial activity reports filed by institutions with the U.S. Treasury which flagged transactions with known terror-linked cartels, including Islamic factions.
While the sophistication of the financial structuring and money movement may seem familiar to law enforcement, this case is anything but a normal investigation, notwithstanding its targets include a former U.S. president and secretary of state. Normal joint operating protocols between the FBI and Justice Department have been abandoned. FBI agents in the Los Angeles field office, where the money laundering probe launched have been continuously hassled by Justice Department naysayers who want the investigation spiked. Likewise, Justice Department officials have instructed FBI agents in New York City to stand down and abandon the inquiry. However, the Bureau has refused to buckle, especially after receiving corroborating evidence from the NYPD, FBI officials said.
Is the Clinton Foundation federal probe the work of FBI agents gone rogue? No. The FBI agents, with approval from headquarters in Washington D.C., have been sanctioned to continue the investigation, ignoring directives from Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her underlings, including Leslie Caldwell, Lynch’s point running the Justice Department’s criminal division.
Neither Lynch nor Caldwell were available for comment.
The FBI’s probe of the Clinton Foundation is actually a compartmentalized investigation. Field offices in Los Angeles and New York are spearheading the case but other offices are involved and contributing, sources said.
According to federal sources, transactions linked to Clinton corporate holdings have raised several regulatory eyebrows even beyond of the Justice Department, specifically in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that reports to the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. FinCEN’s mission is to combat and pinpoint money laundering for personal profit or underwriting terrorism through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities, namely banks and investment houses.
According to federal sources, FinCEN is warehousing numerous Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) forwarded to Treasury from financial institutions for transactions from Clinton-owned entities, both in the United States and globally, all triggered by anti-money laundering safeguards. These reports are confidential but federal agents are using these filings as key pieces to the Clinton Foundation financial puzzle.
According to details gleaned from FinCEN, federal agents acknowledge the Clinton Foundation operates a menagerie of subsidiaries and corporate structures beyond the parent charity. According to law enforcement sources, the FinCEN revelations coupled with the emails recovered by the NYPD detail a complex myriad of shell corporations linked to the Clintons and their charity. FBI sources describe these financial entanglements as vast and global. And many defy normal operating procedures of legitimate charities, officials said.
Has the Clinton Foundation underwritten or profited from linked terror groups per the intelligence warehoused in FinCEN’s vast Treasury database? It is distinctly possible the Clinton Foundation has conducted business — knowingly or not — with terror-backed financial concerns or groups, federal agents said, especially because these are the exact suspicious transactions the U.S. Treasury mandates compliance and security officials in U.S. financial institutions to report to FinCEN under threat of hefty fines and imprisonment.
Triggered by such anti-money laundering controls, federal investigators, for example, said they have examined a Clinton-affiliated offshore entity that essentially is a multi-million dollar private for-profit equity firm operated like an unsanctioned U.S. hedge fund outside the regulatory reach of the Securities and Exchange Commission. That for-profit business however, is controlled by New York-based Clinton Foundation, a not-for-profit registered charity. Also, while the profits of the offshore company are taxable in its foreign domicile, the parent company — the Clinton Foundation — is exempt from the same annual taxes in the United States.
Likewise, because the affiliate of the Clinton Foundation operates as a private offshore company, no one — including regulators in the United States — is privy to its clients, its investments or whether it perhaps served as a front company to secretly commission pay-for-play political schemes and favors during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
The challenge for the investigators? The Clinton Foundation and family have dozens of such affiliates and companies, an intricate corporate tapestry confusing to outsiders and intentionally complex by design.That’s why FBI agents in more than five separate field offices are working this case, federal sources said.