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Wednesday, November 13, 1996

Clinton Fundraiser With Russian Mafia Prompts Questions

Russia Reform Monitor, No. 197
American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, D.C.

Clinton fundraiser with Russian 'mafia' figure prompts questions

Former CIA Director Woolsey calls it 'appalling . . . unwise in the extreme'

October 30

A prominent Russian business figure connected by U.S. intelligence to organized crime, weapons trafficking, and nuclear smuggling was invited to at least two fundraising dinners with President Bill Clinton, reports Christopher Ruddy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) invited Grigory Loutchansky, head of the Vienna-based firm Nordex, to a dinner with the president in October 1993, at which the alleged mafioso spoke briefly with Clinton and posed with him for a photo. The Tribune-Review publishes a photo of Clinton and Loutchansky that appeared in a Russian-language newspaper in Latvia. The Pittsburgh paper's report is based on a lengthy investigative story on Loutchansky in the July 8 issue of Time magazine.

November 1

The Democratic National Committee confirms that Loutchansky attended the 1993 event and that it invited him to attend a second presidential fundraiser in 1995, the New York Post reports. DNC spokeswoman Amy Weiss Tobe claims that the DNC disinvited Loutchansky to the second event after finding out who he was and that he had had "problems." However, the Post reports, "Tobe declined to say how the DNC learned of Loutchansky's 'problems,' what it did to disinvite him from the second Clinton dinner on July 11, 1995 at Washington's Hay Adams Hotel-or what it would have cost him to go."

(Russia Reform Monitor reported on the Loutchansky-Clinton dinner on July 10, issue no. 160, and cited German intelligence that Nordex was set up "to earn hard currency for the KGB.")

November 3

President Clinton's former CIA Director, R. James Woolsey, comments on the reports that the DNC had invited Loutchansky to presidential fundraising dinners. Says Woolsey in a written statement: "At a congressional hearing in April, the current Director of Central Intelligence, John Deutch, identified Grigory Loutchansky's company, Nordex, as an 'organization associated with Russian criminal activity.' Mr. Deutch then refused to discuss the company any further in open session to avoid disclosing sensitive information. While respecting similar restrictions on the disclosure of confidential information, I can add this: John Deutch was right in April of this year and the same is true at the end of my tenure in 1995. Next to Loutchansky, the [Indonesian] Lippo syndicate looks like the Better Business Bureau."

Woolsey adds, "At bare minimum, any DNC invitation to Loutchansky in 1995 would show a severe lack of scrutiny and appalling bad judgment. It would be unwise in the extreme for there to be any ties between the U.S. government and Loutchansky or Loutchansky's company, Nordex."

November 4

The New York Post reports that Loutchansky is neither a U.S. citizen nor resident, but "DNC officials haven't responded to questions about where the invitation to Loutchansky was addressed."

Senator Christopher Dodd, General Chairman of the DNC, "deflected a question about how Grigory Loutchansky, a Russian who has been linked to allegations of smuggled nuclear materials, was invited to two exclusive Clinton fundraisers," the Washington Post reports.