We’ve taken a look at the complaint filed by the Feds against Hassan Nemazee, the top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who was charged this week with fraudulently trying to getting a $74 million loan from Citigroup.
The gist of Nemazee’s alleged scheme, begun in 2006, was relatively simple: In order to convince Citigroup that he had sufficient collateral to secure the line of credit he was asking for, he gave the bank false account statements, according to an affidavit signed by an FBI agent on the case. And, says the agent, he forged the names of actual staffers at brokerage houses where he claimed those accounts were housed. He also allegedly included phone numbers and addresses for what he claimed were the brokerages, but was in fact a virtual office he had set up.
The surprising thing, perhaps, is that it took Citigroup so long to look into Nemazee’s operation, figure out that it was fishy, and, it appears, alert the Feds. As recently as August 11, two Citigroup representatives has lunch with Nemazee and asked him to verify the assets held in his account. After the lunch date, one wrote him a polite followup email:
We really appreciate your understanding, and agreement to circulate the Pershing collateral verification letter this Friday for signature. Attached is the text for the letter. Please ensure that we receive an original letter on Pershing stationary (sic) signed by an authorized representative of Pershing in Accounts or Trade Services.
Thank you for turning this around quickly for us.
In response, Nemazee sent Citigroup yet another forged letter. Less than two weeks later, he was confronted by FBI agents at the Newark airport as he prepared to board a plane to Rome.