The Department of Justice just handed down indictments on three businessmen in Virginia accused of attempting to defraud the Department of Defense for billions of dollars, violate the economic sanctions against Iran and engage in a conspiracy involving international money laundering, all of which took place at a time when Barack Obama was president and Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The indictments may hit a little close to home for those two Democrat politicians — especially Clinton — as one of those businessmen was not only a major longtime donor to the Democratic Party, but was also a former member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
According to a Thursday release from the DOJ Office of Public Affairs, indictments were handed down November 27 against three businessmen in Virginia — brothers Abul Huda Farouki and Mazen Farouki, and Salah Maarouf — for their role in a 2012 scheme to defraud the DoD and U.S. taxpayers through fraudulently obtained government contracts.
Those indictments include two counts of major fraud, one count of conspiracy to violate sanctions against Iran, four counts of substantive violations of those Iran sanctions and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering. The three men have pleaded not guilty to those charges and are scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 6.
Major fraud scheme
Abul Huda Farouki was the CEO of a company known as Anham FCZO, a defense contractor based in the United Arab Emirates that won a contract worth $8 billion — as well as a separate but related trucking contract worth nearly $1 billion — to provide food and supplies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Farouki’s brother Mazen was president of a logistical company affiliated with Anham, and Maarouf led a business that procured goods and services on behalf of Anham.
When bidding for the lucrative contract, the accused alleged that they were building two warehouses in Afghanistan that would be used to supply U.S. troops as part of the contract, information that likely helped them win the bid for the contract.
Except the warehouses didn’t really exist, and the defendants allegedly created the false appearance of an active construction site for one of those warehouses. They are alleged to have moved in construction equipment and materials to the site, after which they took pictures for the DoD as evidence of their “progress” on the construction of the warehouse, then promptly disassembled the site and removed the equipment afterward.
The defendants also stand accused of cutting costs — and pocketing the difference — by illicitly shipping construction materials and delivery trucks through less expensive routes in Iran, in direct violation of the Iran sanctions they had agreed to comply with.
Financial ties to Clinton, Democrats
Abul Huda Farouki was a major donor to the Democratic Party and former member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
According to data from Open Secrets, Farouki and his wife have donated more than $320,000 to the Democratic Party, various Democratic candidates — including Clinton and Obama — and Democratic-allied political action committees over the years since the 1990s. The Faroukis even reportedly celebrated New Year’s Eve with the Clintons in 1999 and were invited to a White House state dinner in 2000, according to the Washington Post.
Whether any of those political donations came from the taxpayer funds fraudulently obtained through the defense contract scam — which could conceivably be construed as an illegal kickback — is information that may never be fully known, though it is certainly a possibility.