September 6, 2005: Bill Clinton helps Kazakhstan’s president while Giustra gets a sweet deal in Kazakhstan and donates to the Clinton Foundation.

Bill Clinton and Nursultan Nazarbayev shake hands in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on September 6, 2005. (Credit: Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters)

Bill Clinton and Nursultan Nazarbayev shake hands in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on September 6, 2005. (Credit: Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters)

Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton meet with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. Clinton publicly expresses support for Nazarbayev’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. This undercuts US foreign policy against that bid, due to Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record and flawed elections.

Two days later, Giustra’s company signs agreements giving it the right to buy shares of three uranium projects controlled by the Kazakh government. The New York Times will later report, “The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.”

Several months later, the Clinton Foundation will get a $31 million donation from Giustra that will remain secret until it is discovered by reporters in 2008. Both Clinton and Giustra will later claim that this chain of events was merely coincidental. However, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of the Kazakh government company, will later say that Giustra did discuss the deal with President Nazarbayev, and Giustra’s friendship with Clinton “of course made an impression.”

Giustra’s company will be sold for $3.1 billion in February 2007, despite being worth only a small fraction of that prior to the Kazakhstan deal. Dzhakishev will meet in private with Clinton and Giustra in Clinton’s New York house the same month Giustra’s company is sold. Both Giustra and Clinton will deny that such a meeting ever took place. But after reporters point to other accounts of the meeting, both of them will say they remember it after all. (The New York Times, 1/30/2008)

Later in 2007, Giustra and Clinton will cofound a Canadian branch of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP). In 2015, it will be alleged this in fact is a “slush fund” allowing foreigners to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation in hopes of getting political influence with the Clintons. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

May 26, 2015: The Clintons are criticized for mixing government work with fund raising.

Stephen Walt (Credit: public domain)

Stephen Walt (Credit: public domain)

Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international affairs, says that the intertwining financial relationships between the Clintons, US defense contractors, and foreign governments who buy US weapons is “a vivid example of a very big problem—the degree to which conflicts of interest have become endemic. […] It has troubled me all along that the Clinton Foundation was not being more scrupulous about who it would take money from and who it wouldn’t. American foreign policy is better served if people responsible for it are not even remotely suspected of having these conflicts of interest. When George Marshall was secretary of state, nobody was worried about whether or not he would be distracted by donations to a foundation or to himself. This wasn’t an issue.” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)