Article reprint — Obama’s Mansion deal – money from Iraq

Did Saddam bagman help Obama buy mansion?

Rezko financier linked with late Iraqi tyrant
Posted: October 28, 2008
9:22 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Former Baathist official Nadhmi Auchi with cousin Saddam Hussein Just 23 days before a crooked fundraiser helped Sen. Barack Obama buy his Chicago mansion, a billionaire bagman for Saddam Hussein wired millions into the crook’s account.

“Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein’s regime,” said Mideast expert Daniel Pipes.

Former Iraqi official Nadhmi Auchi bankrolled his longtime friend and business partner, Syrian immigrant and Chicago slumlord Tony Rezko, who in turn bankrolled Obama’s political career before being convicted this year of fraud.

That much is known. What’s not known is whether any Auchi funds aided Obama’s 2005 purchase of a $1.65 million mock-Georgian mansion in the leafy Kenwood district of Chicago. On the same day, Rezko purchased an adjacent lot from the same seller.

In addition, Rezko personally toured the house with Obama before their same-day purchase of the adjoining parcels. He also advised Obama on negotiating his end of the deal.

(Story continues below)

Obama ended up buying his side of the property for $300,000 below the asking price, while Rezko, through his wife, paid full price, $625,000, for the adjacent vacant lot.

Just three weeks earlier, Rezko – who at the time was under indictment and virtually bankrupt – received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Auchi, his “close friend” and partner, who smuggled weapons to Saddam’s regime.

Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones Jr. and his protege Barack Obama
A year before their real estate deal, Obama, fresh off his U.S. Senate win, attended a dinner that Rezko hosted honoring Auchi at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Chicago. There, he met with Rezko, as well as his career mentor, Emil Jones, president of the Illinois senate, where Obama had previously served. Jones also is close to Auchi.

While Obama acknowledges attending the 2004 event, he claims having no memory of meeting Auchi there.

“I just don’t recall,” he said, even though the dinner was held in Auchi’s honor and Rezko had invited Obama to meet him and other friends.

What’s more, Rezko that same year had held another reception for Auchi, this time at his mansion; and according to court testimony in Rezko’s trial, both Barack and Michelle Obama attended the reception and met Auchi.

Auchi at the time was under investigation by the U.S. government. The Pentagon had accused him of perpetrating fraud in Iraq, and he was subsequently barred from future entry into the U.S.

Auchi turned to Rezko to lobby several politicians in an unsuccessful bid to reinstate his visa.

It’s not clear if Obama, a vocal Iraq war critic, was one of those politicians. But the senator did intervene on behalf of another shady Iraqi official at Rezko’s request.

Emil Jones and Nadhmi Auchi
After Aiham Alsammarae was jailed in Iraq for fraud in 2006, Obama’s Senate office sought information from the State Department about his status and relayed it to his family living in Chicago.

Alsammarae, a dual Iraqi-U.S. citizen who donated the maximum $2,300 to Obama’s campaign, attended the same Four Seasons reception for Auchi attended by Obama.

A 2004 Pentagon report identified Auchi as an Iraqi billionaire and global arms dealer “who behind the facade of legitimate business, served as Saddam Hussein’s principle international financial manipulator and bag man.”

The report states that “significant and credible evidence has been developed that Nadhmi Auchi has engaged in unlawful activities,” such as bribing “foreign governments and individuals prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom to turn opinion against the American-led mission to remove Saddam Hussein.”

Obama and top fundraiser Tony Rezko, a business partner and close friend of Auchi
He also helped “arrange for significant theft from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program to smuggle weapons and dual-use technology into Iraq.”

Since October 2002, Obama has publicly opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ousted Saddam Hussein. Auchi was a cousin of the executed dictator.

As for Rezko, the Obama campaign says the presidential hopeful was unaware of his dirty dealings and has returned more than $200,000 in donations tied to him.

Obama has confessed misjudgment only in the subsequent purchase of a 10-foot strip of the adjacent S. Greenwood Avenue property from Rezko, not the original seemingly coordinated purchase of the parcels with Rezko on the same day, which political watchdog groups have called a “sweetheart deal.”

Plot of land Rezko bought on same day Obama bought $1.65 million Georgian mansion next door
Obama described his subsequent $105,000 transaction a “boneheaded move,” only because Rezko was under indictment at the time for bribing elected officials and other influence-peddling charges. He denies they coordinated their bids on the adjoining parcels so the Obamas could buy their dream home at a discount.

And his campaign has reiterated that Obama has no recollection of meeting Iraqi bagman Auchi, while adding that Auchi does not recall meeting Obama.

“There are no skeletons with this guy,” Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power has insisted regarding her candidate. “He’s clean.”

Coincidentally, Obama’s national campaign co-chairman, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Chicago, also purchased a mansion under similarly mysterious circumstances.


1967 – Nadhmi Auchi joins Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime as Oil Ministry official

1974 – Antoin Rezko immigrates to U.S. from Syria

Another view of Obama’s mansion
1979 – Auchi founds General Mediterranean Holding, procuring arms for Saddam’s regime

1980s – Auchi begins bankrolling Rezko real estate deals in Illinois

1991 – Barack Obama interviews with Rezko for a position at his low-income housing development business, Rezmar

1993-1996 – Obama takes on Rezko as a client at his Chicago law firm, representing various Rezmar housing projects

1995 – Rezko starts to bankroll Obama’s political career, in the end raising a total of more than $250,000 for his various campaigns

October 2002 – Obama gives speech opposing war with Iraq

June 2003 – Rezko holds lavish fundraiser for Obama at his Illinois mansion, providing key seed money to launch his U.S. Senate campaign

April 2004 – Auchi meets with Rezko, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and State Senate President Emil Jones Jr., Obama’s career mentor, at the Four Seasons hotel in Chicago. Newly elected U.S. Sen. Obama also attends event

2005 – U.S. bars Auchi from entry, after Pentagon accuses him of Iraqi fraud

2005 – Rezko lobbies Illinois and U.S. officials for Auchi to be allowed back into the U.S.

May 23, 2005 – Auchi wire-transfers $3.5 million to Rezko

June 15, 2005 – Obama partners with Rezko in purchasing adjacent properties on South Greenwood Avenue in Chicago’s leafy Kenwood district

January 2006 – Rezko sells Obama adjoining 10-foot strip of land

June 2008 – Rezko convicted of taking kickbacks from companies wanting to do business with the state of Illinois


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