01/07/98- Updated 06:25 PM ET|
DNC donation preceded aid to Saudis
COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. diplomats intervened in a Saudi Arabian business dispute for a lobbyist the same week one of the lobbyist's clients gave $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee, a newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting court transcripts.
Lobbyist David Wimer testified in an Ohio court case that he was able to arrange meetings "with a lot of very senior people, including members of the royal family" with assistance from the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia, according to transcripts a Franklin County judge released to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer on Tuesday.
Wimer said he was trying to help Global Resources Management Inc., based in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, collect a debt of $4 billion to $6 billion for construction of defense-related oil storage bunkers in Saudi Arabia.
Wimer said he and fellow Global Resources lobbyist former Democratic Rep. Steve Solarz of New York met with Saudi Defense and Aviation Minister Prince Sultan in August, 1996. Another meeting, attended by Prince Sultan and several former Reagan and Bush administration diplomats, was held the next month.
On Aug. 12, 1996, Global Resources gave the DNC a $100,000 check at a fund-raiser for President Clinton's birthday. Testimony from Mohamed El Naggar, an Egyptian national who co-owns the company, indicated the $100,000 was money he had given to Global.
The DNC returned the money after the testimony was reported, citing "lingering uncertainty" about the source of the contribution. Political parties are generally barred from receiving foreign funds.
Wimer, a White House aide in the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations, owns the International Policy Analysis Center, a consulting company.
He said Global Resources paid his fees but that his "ultimate client" was Sheikh Mohammad Oboud Al-Amoudi, a Saudi businessman. His testimony suggests that Saudi money bankrolled Global Resources, the newspaper said.
Wimer said he checked on the businessman through the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia, the State Department and other federal agencies. He said word came back from the Clinton administration that Amoudi was trustworthy and rich.
Neither Wimer nor Global Resources could be reached for comment Wednesday. No phone listings were available for Wimer and a recording at a Columbus listing for Global Resources said the number had been temporarily disconnected. A message seeking comment was left at the State Department.
Global Resource is a partnership between El Naggar and Ahmed Abdulshafi, a native of Cairo who emigrated to the United States in 1979, according to the Ohio lawsuit. It was established to purchase construction and engineering firms based in the United States and overseas, records indicate.
The company planned to invest $3.5 million it obtained from a Saudi Arabian company in an oil and gas project in Ohio. Abdulshafi has charged that El Naggar made off with the money after the project fell through. El Naggar said the money went back to the Saudi company, according to court papers.
By The Associated Press
Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
©COPYRIGHT 1998 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.