The finance co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign today pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded banks of $292 million in loan proceeds, Reuters reported. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Hassan Nemazee, a major Democratic donor and fundraiser, is accused of using loan proceeds from one bank to pay off another over an 11-year period, from 1998 to 2009. The banks he allegedly defrauded are Bank of America, Citibank and HSBC Bank USA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York .
Prosecutors allege Nemazee forged documents and signatures to obtain the loans. In the documents, Nemazee reportedly identified hundreds of millions of dollars worth of collateral, the Department of Justice said. He then allegedly used the money to make campaign contributions to Democratic candidates, to political action committees and charities and to purchase property.
During a court hearing in Manhattan, Nemazee’s attorney, Paul Schechtman, said his client’s bail conditions were “onerous.” Nemazee is under house arrest in his $20 million Manhattan apartment and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, Bloomberg reported. Schechtman said he may ask that the bail conditions be modified,The Associated Press reported.
A prosecutor from the SDNY told U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein the government would provide to the defense 15 boxes of material sezied under search warrant from Nemazee’s offices. Nemazee’s next court appearance is scheduled Nov. 4.
After the hearing, Schechtman said there was nothing illegal about the donations his client made to campaigns, The AP reported. “Mr. Nemazee’s campaign contributions were modest and lawful and this is not a case about funneling money to candidates,” Schechtman said, adding, “Anyone who for their own purposes tries to use it that way or interpret it that way grossly misstates what happened here.”