This is a story about how three key elements formed a triangle with the Clinton Foundation at the center. As we follow it through, we will see how the Clintons facilitated the desires of the three key players so that they all came out winners, and the biggest winner of all was the Clinton Foundation. Once you see the story unfold, it becomes obvious that things might have gone very differently had the Clintons not been involved. In fact, it is likely the event may not have taken place at all.
After his presidential days were behind him, Bill Clinton set his vision on creating a foundation that would coordinate disparate charitable efforts, both governmental and private, across the globe. Indeed, he saw the William J. Clinton Foundation’s role as one of facilitator. Accordingly, in 2001, with a little over $3 million dollars in donations, his namesake foundations was born.
In 2004, a Canadian energy investor by the name of Frank Guistra set up a small public company—Guistra had his eye on the uranium mining base in Kazakhstan (part of the former Soviet Union). Kazakhstan has some of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Guistra was aware of that and also aware that he did not have access to the company that controlled the three major mines unless he went through the office of the Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev ran a corrupt, repressive government which had earned him bad marks globally on human rights issues and his election campaigns were less than above-board. As a consequence, the USA had Nazarbayev on the “bad boy list,” cutting him out of international interactions. Nazarbayev did not know Frank Guistra or his new company, UrAsia Energy, LTD, but he soon would.
Fortunately, fate intervened for Guistra: he met Bill Clinton at several fundraising events some time between January and June of 2005, and they became friends. At some point, Guistra mentioned his interest in the Kazakhstan mines and his lack of entrée to Nazarbayev. Could Bill go to bat for him? It might be advantageous to all involved. And thus were the wheels greased and set in motion.
Guistra lent Clinton his corporate jet for a global junket to various fundraising projects for AIDS prescription drugs. Prior to Clinton’s trip, a stop in Kazakhstan was hastily added to include dinner with President Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev, seeking a second term, wanted some positive media attention globally. Bill Clinton could step before the world and praise him, point out his dedication to doing the right thing, and essentially provide his endorsement both internationally and with the Kazakhstan people.
Over the course of a two-day visit, Clinton did just that. The dinner including Clinton, Nazarbayev and Guistra went off without a hitch, with Guistra making his pitch for the uranium mines, and Clinton did his best to paint Nazarbayev in a positive light. Now, stop right here. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was a U.S. Senator from New York who entertained presidential aspirations. Why would her husband lend his name to a man and a government with such a poor track record if there was nothing to be gained? On September 8th—one day after the Clinton visit—Guistra’s firm UrAsia entered into a Letter of Agreement with Kazatomprom, the agency in charge of Kazakhstan’s uranium mines—and the deal was done. Overnight, UrAsia Energy, Ltd. went from a little known energy investment company to a major player in international uranium mining.
Guistra had what he wanted and so did Nazarbayev, who won his re-election with over 90% of the vote. In early 2006, the Clinton Foundation received a $31.3 million donation from Guistra—a fact which the Foundation did not report until December of the following year. Guistra sold his holdings in UrAsia Energy for $45 million and left Ian Telfer, then Chairman of the Board, in charge as CEO. Under Telfer’s guidance, UrAsia Energy was soon acquired by an African-based corporation known as Uranium One in a merger that left the UrAsia investors in charge and Telfer at the helm of the new company called Uranium One. As a result, Uranium One, which already had holdings in Africa and Australia, now had them in Kazakhstan. The company continued to pursue uranium companies aggressively and soon had purchased holdings in the USA, including a uranium mill in Utah, mineral rights to 38,000 acres in four western U.S. States, and the assets of Energy Metals Corporation with uranium mining capabilities in Texas and Wyoming. Now, since Uranium One was a Canadian-based concern, these purchases required the approval of the U.S. government.
At this point, the second element of our triangle comes into play—the Obama Administration. In 2009, the administration was heading into its first term and very motivated by President Obama’s interest in “resetting” the relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin. The Uranium One purchases were awaiting the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment which is made up of key cabinet members such as Treasury, Homeland Security, Defense, and State. In January, Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State. China had recently made an attempt to secure some holdings in U.S. uranium mining operations and the Committee had denied their request. In view of this, Uranium One awaited its fate anxiously.
It was just about this time that the third side of the triangle began to emerge. Putin was very interested in recovering as much of the old USSR as possible—if not the geography, certainly the assets. He saw the three uranium mines in Kazakhstan as a highly important asset for Russia and set about to acquire them through a Russian controlled company known as “Rosatom”. The operation began an effort to make the acquisition through one of its subsidiary companies, ARMZ.
In late 2009, investors in Uranium One were getting nervous. They were very aware of the commitments made to gain the holdings in the USA which would comprise one-fifth of all the uranium mining production in the USA. A lot was riding on the approval and nerves were frayed. Some investors began selling off their stock and prices dropped by 40% in a short time. In addition, the Kazakhstan director of mines was arrested, purportedly for selling uranium illegally to foreign countries. At this point, ARMZ made an offer to acquire 17% of Uranium One’s stock and Uranium One agreed. That offer was quickly followed by another in 2010 to control 51% of the stock—an offer Uranium One investors welcomed with open arms.
News of this purchase soon made its way to Congressional members who knew that Uranium One had holdings in the USA awaiting purchase approval. Letters were written beseeching the President to stop the deal to no avail. The Committee on Foreign Investment echoed concerns over the stock exchange and buy-up of Uranium One by ARMZ. Their concern was quelled when ARMZ issued a statement claiming that their holdings would be limited to 51% of the stock and that the company would remain public. In October 2010 the deal was approved by the Committee with (rumor has it) seven of eight members voting to approve it, among them Hillary Clinton.
Ian Telfer, former CEO and Chairman of Uranium One, is very happy as are the many investors who held on for the approval. Obama was happy to have taken an important step in resetting the relationship with Russia—building on his legacy so to speak. Russia was happy to have acquired the Kazakhstan mines and also the windfall of USA holdings. ARMZ went on to buy all the stock of Uranium One and take the company private. Lastly, Bill and Hillary Clinton were very happy as oodles and gobs of money began flowing into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation from Telfer and others associated with Uranium One.
The victims in this story are the usual ones—the people of the United States. Now Hillary Clinton wants to be president and can only explain away the above story by saying vaguely, “mistakes were made” and new tax filings are being submitted to correct the mistakes. What a shame that so many Americans will buy this facile explanation and ignore the fact that this woman and her husband engaged in a very serious game of influence-peddling which ultimately led to putting a large part of our uranium capacity into the hands of the Russians—an act closely resembling treason. The sale of yellow-cake uranium is limited to the countries who are signatories of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. In recent years, however, uranium—from which enriched nuclear materials are made—has been turning up in the hands of other nations, like Iran. How much of this is thanks to the Clintons and their unquenchable greed?
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