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George W. Bush And Harken Oil - Recovered History

RECOVERED HISTORY - From the overstocked archives of the Progressive Review a timeline of the Harken Energy Insider Trading play by U.S. President George W. Bush, a series of transactions that connects the bin Laden and Bush families, and a current link to the New York Times traversing some more of the old ground.

1986

George W. Bush and partners receive more than $2 million of Harken Energy stock in exchange for a failing oil well operation, which had lost $400,000 in the prior six months. After Bush joined Harken, the largest stock position and a seat on its board were acquired by Harvard Management Company. The Harken board gave Bush $600,000 worth of the company's publicly traded stock, plus a seat on the board plus a consultancy that paid him up to $120,000 a year. When Harken runs short of cash it hooks up with investment banker Jackson Stephens of Little Rock, Arkansas, who arranges a $25 million stock purchase by Union Bank of Switzerland. Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, who joins the board as a part of the deal, is connected to the infamous BCCI.

1987

Harken Energy project gets rescued by aid from the BCCI-connected Union Bank of Switzerland in a deal brokered by Jackson Stephens, later to show up as a key supporter of Bill Clinton.

1988

Bahrain officials suddenly break off offshore drilling negotiations with Amoco and decide to deal with Harken Energy, George Bush Jr.'s firm. Harken has had a series of failed ventures and no cash, so the Bass brothers are brought in to finance Harken's efforts at a cost of $50 million.

1990

January: Bahrain awards exclusive offshore drilling rights to Harken Oil. This is a surprise as Harken is in very shaky financial condition, has never drilled outside of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and had never drilled undersea at all. The Bass brothers are brought in by Harken for sufficient equity to proceed with the effort. Harken's stock price increases from $4.50 to $5.50.

George W. Bush sells two-thirds of his Harken Energy stock at the top of the market for $850,000, a 200% profit, but makes no report to the SEC until March 1991. Bush Jr. says later the SEC misplaced the report. An SEC representative responds: "nobody ever found the 'lost' filing." One week after Bush's sale, Harken reports an earnings plunge. Harken stock falls more than 60%. Bush uses most of the proceeds to pay off the bank loan he had taken a year earlier to finance his portion of the Texas Rangers deal.

August: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. Harken's stock price drops substantially. Two months after Bush sells his stock, Harken posts losses for the 2nd quarter of well over $20 million and is shares fall another 24 %, by year end Harken is trading at $1.25. Bush has insisted that he did not know about the firm's mounting losses and that his stock sell-off was approved by Harken's general counsel.

1992

First of Harken Energy's wells off Bahrain comes up dry. George W. Bush takes a leave of absence from the firm to work in his father's campaign, saying "I don't want to involve this company in any kind of allegations of conflicts or whatever may arise."

JERRY URBAN, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, JUNE 4, 1992:

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network - known as FinCEN - and the FBI are reviewing accusations that entrepreneur James R. Bath guided money to Houston from Saudi investors who wanted to influence US policy under the Reagan and Bush administrations, sources close to the investigations say . . . The federal review stems in part from court documents obtained through litigation by Bill White, a former real estate business associate of Bath . . . White became entangled in a series of lawsuits and counter suits with Bath, who for some six years has prevailed in the courts. . . . In sworn depositions, Bath said he represented four prominent Saudis as a trustee and that he would use his name on their investments. In return, he said, he would receive a 5 percent interest in their deals. Tax documents and personal financial records show that Bath personally had a 5 percent interest in Arbusto '79 Ltd., and Arbusto '80 Ltd., limited partnerships controlled by George W. Bush, President Bush's eldest son. Arbusto means 'bush' in Spanish. Bath invested $ 50,000 in the limited partnerships, according to the documents. There is no available evidence to show whether the money came from Saudi interests. George W. Bush's company, Bush Exploration Co., general partner in the limited partnerships, went through several mergers, eventually evolving into Harken Energy Corp., a suburban Dallas-based company . . . Bush said that to his knowledge, Bath's investment was from personal funds, and no Saudi money was invested in Arbusto. Bath, 55, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, declined to comment for the record. Spokesmen for FinCEN and the FBI also declined to comment. According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after Bush was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston. Binladen, along with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East. According to White, Bath told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role with Saudi Arabia since 1976. Bath has previously denied having worked for the CIA . . . Bath received a 5 percent interest in the companies that own and operate Houston Gulf Airport after purchasing it on behalf of Binladen in 1977.

1993

PBS FRONTLINE: [From a French source] The Saudi authorities' decision to issue an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden on 16 May 1993 does not threaten to affect the relationship between the bin Ladens and the royal family. Osama, one of Mohammed's youngest son, has been known for years for his fundamentalist activities . . . King Fahd's two closest friends were: Prince Mohammed Ben Abdullah (son of Abdul Aziz' youngest brother), who died in the early '80s and whose brother, Khaled Ben Abdullah (an associate of Suleiman Olayan), still has free access to the king; and Salem bin Laden, who died in 1988 . . . Like his father in 1968, Salem died in a 1988 air crash...in Texas. He was flying a BAC 1-11 which had been bought in July 1977 by Prince Mohammed Ben Fahd. The plane's flight plans had long been at the center of a number of investigations. According to one of the plane's American pilots, it had been used in October 1980 during secret Paris meetings between US and Iranian emissaries. Nothing was ever proven, but Salem bin Laden's accidental death revived some speculation that he might have been "eliminated" as an embarrassing witness. In fact, an inquiry was held to determine the exact circumstances of the accident. The conclusions were never divulged . . . There was also a political aspect to Salem bin Laden's financial activities . . . Salem bin Laden played a role in the US operations in the Middle East and Central America during the '80s. On his death in 1968, Sheik Mohammed left behind not only an industrial and financial estate but also a progeny made up of no less than 54 sons and daughters, the fruit of a number of marriages . . . Upon Sheik Salem's death, the leadership of the group passed to his eldest son, Bakr, along with thirteen other brothers who make up the board of the bin Laden group. The most important of these are Hassan,Yeslam and Yehia. Most of these brothers have different mothers and different nationalities as well. Each has his own set of affinities, thus contributing to the group's international scope. Bakr and Yehia are seen as representatives of the "Syrian group"; Yeslam, of the "Lebanese group." There is also a "Jordanian group." Abdul Aziz, one of the youngest brothers, represents the "Egyptian group" and is also manager of the bin Laden group's Egyptian branch, which employs over 40,000 people. Osama bin Laden is, incidentally, the only brother with a Saudi mother.


And to finish….

A link from Today’s New York Times…

BEHIND THE BUSHES

JIM YARDLEY, NY TIMES - In his earliest known tie to the Enron Corporation, President Bush, then an oil man in West Texas, joined an energy drilling venture organized in 1986 by a subsidiary of Enron. The drilling operation — which succeeded in striking oil and natural gas in Martin County — came as Mr. Bush's company, the Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, was struggling to stay afloat during a collapse in world oil prices. The company was also in final negotiations to be taken over by a Dallas-based company, Harken Energy. Executives involved in the drilling venture characterized it as an ordinary business deal. Enron Oil and Gas, then an exploration subsidiary with offices here in Midland, served as operator and majority partner. Mr. Bush's company, which had a 10 percent working interest in the deal, was one of a handful of minority investors . . . It is unclear whether Mr. Bush was involved in the deal because he controlled adjacent mineral leases or if Spectrum 7 was simply sought out as an investor. Bill Morrison, who ran the Midland office of Enron Oil and Gas at the time, said he recalled soliciting about 12 to 15 companies as potential investors in the project, including Spectrum 7. He said many companies, struggling for capital, declined the offer, but Spectrum 7, apparently with cash on hand, signed on for the 10 percent interest.

MORE…

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/06/business/06DEAL.html

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