According to a new report from the LA Times, a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman who donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation was denied a visa to enter the US on suspicions of terrorism.
Gilbert Chagoury is a world-renowned billionaire and philanthropist who has built a relationship with the Clinton's dating back to the '90s.
By the time Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the relationship was strong enough for Bill Clinton’s closest aide to push for Chagoury to get access to top diplomats, and the agency began exploring a deal, still under consideration, to build a consulate on Chagoury family land in Lagos, Nigeria.
Not surprisingly, the Clinton Foundation has taken in millions of dollars from Chagoury.
Chagoury also contributed $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to its list of donors. At a 2009 Clinton Global Initiative conference, where business and charity leaders pledge to complete projects, the ChagouryGroup’s Eko Atlantic development — nine square kilometers of Lagos coastal land reclaimed by a seawall — was singled out for praise. During a 2013 dedication ceremony in Lagos, just after Hillary Clinton left her post as secretary of State, Bill Clinton lauded the $1-billion Eko Atlantic as an example to the world of how to fight climate change.
“I especially thank my friends Gilbert and Ron Chagoury for making it happen,” Bill Clinton said.
In 2010 Chagoury was pulled off a private plane in New Jersey and questioned for four hours because he was on the FBI's no-fly list. He was taken off the list but is still flagged as a "selectee" when he visits the U.S. "Selectee" status means he receives extra scrutiny from the TSA.
Chagoury received a letter apologizing “for any inconvenience or unpleasantness.” It's not clear exactly what got him flagged, but a Department of Homeland Security document cited unspecified suspicions of terrorism. One reason Chagoury might have raised suspicions was because of his relationship with a Lebanese politician who has connections to Hezbollah.
A Wikileaks cable from 2007 revealed that a Lebanese minister told the US Ambassador to Lebanon the US should “deliver to Chagoury a strong message about the possibility of financial sanctions and travel bans against those who undermine Lebanon’s legitimate institutions.”
Nevertheless, the Clintons wanted Chagoury to have more access to top diplomats after Mrs. Clinton took over as Secretary of State. “We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance guy re Lebanon. As you know he's key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp," wrote Bill Clinton aide Doug Band to the State Department.
Chagoury was under suspicion once again in 2013 for sending funds to the same Hezbollah-connected politician. According to reports, the relationship between Chagoury and the politician have since soured. Nevertheless, last summer he was denied a visa by the State Department on terrorism-related grounds.