Major Clinton Foundation donor and Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire Gilbert Chagoury is suing seven United States federal agencies over being denied a visa to enter the U.S., and is claiming reputational damage after a story leaked about the reason — namely, reports that he aided in funneling money to Islamic terror group Hezbollah.
Chagoury’s lawsuit names the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, National Counterterrorism Center, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The suit alleges that the State Department must have relied on false information in government databases in reaching what Chagoury calls the wrongful conclusion that he is a terrorist threat. His lawyer, Stewart Baker said Chagoury, a British citizen, was not given an opportunity to refute the terrorist allegations.
Last month the Los Angeles Times reported on Chagoury’s time on the no-fly list, which led him to be pulled off of a private jet in 2010 and denied a visa by the post-Clinton State Department in 2015. A 2013 FBI intelligence report drew connections between Chagoury and cash transferred to Hezbollah, which is designated a terror group by the U.S.
Chagoury’s cozy relationship with the Clintons, his donations to the Clinton Foundation, and a push from a top aide to Bill Clinton for Chagoury to gain access to top diplomats and the State Department to look into building a consulate on his family’s land in Nigeria, were also noted. The Times reported that Chagoury does own a house in Beverly Hills which has been on the market for a year. He says that claims of his involvement with the terror group prompted a California bank to close his accounts with them according to the Tribune.
Chagoury’s connections with the Clintons have been documented in the The New York Times bestseller Clinton Cash. Some of his activities allegedly included a near half-million donation to Democratic voter-registration nonprofit Vote Now 96, which was followed two months later by his attendance at a 250-person Clinton White House Christmas party.
He was initially charged in Switzerland for aiding in laundering billions of dollars from Nigera, but ended up entering into a plea deal. He was added to a federal terrorism no-fly list after a 2010 bombing of an American airliner. Chagoury later admitted to being acquainted with the bomber’s father. He was a senior advisor to Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, and around 2004 was identified by top Nigerian prosecutor Nuhu Ribadu as having helped Abacha steal billions. He further admitted to bribery in 2001 in a British court for helping Abacha’s family move hundreds of millions into foreign bank accounts.
Despite all of that, the Clinton’s Foundation accepted from one to five million dollars in donations from Chagoury, and in 2009 his company the Chagoury Group pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. The same year as that pledge, the group received CGI’s annual “sustainable development” award. Investigation has been launched into whether the CGI donation was related to the Clinton’s State Department foot-dragging over recognizing Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
State Department officials continued to pursue a Lagos consulate on the “futuristic” Chagoury family development Eko Atlantic, even after Chagoury was refused entry to the U.S., according to the Tribune.
Baker was reported as saying Chagoury’s lawsuit is the first filed under the Judicial Redress Act, signed by President Barack Obama. The Tribune reported that the law, signed in February, resulted from negotiations with European Union countries and could give EU citizens U.S. privacy rights, preventing “unauthorized disclosure of government information.”