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Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
The tax returns released by Bill and Hillary Clinton late Friday reveal $15 million earned in a partnership with billionaire “supermarket czar” investor Ron Burkle and the sheik of Dubai, whose Arab state sparked controversy with a purchase giving it control of 22 American ports.
Burkle is widely known as a top “FOB,” or “Friend of Bill,” whose corporate jet Bill Clinton has used so often the New York Observer claims Clinton has taken to calling it “Air Force Two.”
The news comes with the disclosure Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies have created Yucaipa Global Holdings, a multi-billion investment fund whose three investment manager general partners are Burkle, Bill Clinton and the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Al-Maktoum was the ruler at the center of public outcry over national security concerns when Dubai Ports World proposed in 2006 to acquire the London-based company that operated 22 ports in the U.S.
WND also reported al-Maktoum has moved to acquire 19.9 percent of the Nasdaq in New York, the second largest stock exchange in the U.S.
Dubai, as WND reported, is also one of the six Persian Gulf nations that has amassed some $1.7 trillion in Sovereign Wealth Funds.
The U.S. Treasury has been quietly negotiating behind the scenes with Dubai and the other Persian Gulf states to set terms for the petrodollars in the massive Sovereign Wealth Funds to return to the U.S. as early as this year. The Arab states are eyeing major investments in U.S. banks and security firms now struggling to meet capital requirements while their asset portfolios remain loaded with troubled and sometimes near-worthless collateralized loan obligations, including collateralized mortgage obligations.
Since the Clintons share a common bank account, fees for investment advice earned by Bill also are received by Hillary, even when the funds trace back to investments made in conjunction with a foreign nation, such as Dubai. The Arab state’s ruling sheik is positioned as an equal partner to Bill Clinton in the managing general partner triumvirate overseeing Yucaipa Global Holdings.
Potentially even more embarrassing for Hillary Clinton’s already struggling presidential campaign are some of the investments held by Yucaipa Global Holdings.
One such investment is Aloha Airlines, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the bankruptcy bailout engineered by Yucaipa ended up requiring pilots to take severe economic losses – not the record Hillary Clinton wants campaigning as a champion of labor.
In offering to put $100 million capital into bankrupt Aloha Airlines in 2005, Yucaipa Companies demanded the airline rid itself of the pilots’ pension program.
As the negotiations proceeded, the federally funded Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation objected, saying Yucaipa’s plan to off-load Aloha’s pension plan would create an unfortunate precedent in which taxpayers were used to off-load a corporate liability to make a company in bankruptcy proceedings, such as Aloha, more attractive to investors, such as Yucaipa.
As the restructuring proceeded, Yucaipa ended up getting the Aloha pilots to make $12 million in concessions, yet the airline has not been able to fight off competition from competing airlines offering deep-discounted fares.
With Aloha Airlines in bankruptcy proceedings once again this year, Yucaipa has announced it is unwilling to provide more than the $110 million in financing it already has provided for Aloha, according to a report in the Honolulu Adviser.
Yucaipa also has invested in a Brazilian ethanol company, Brazil Renewable Energy Co., also known as Brenco.
The Associated Press reported March 10 a team from Brazil’s Labor Ministry found 133 Brenco sugarcane workers were being exploited essentially as slave labor, forced to live in degrading conditions.
According to a statement issued Friday by Jaqueline Carrijo, who led the inspections of Brenco, at five inspected sites workers “complained they were suffering from hunger and cold, and all of the locations were overcrowded and with terrible sanitary conditions.”
Over the weekend, Bloomberg further reported Yucaipa funds paid to Clinton came through the Cayman Islands, where no individual or corporate taxes are charged, and strict bank secrecy laws prevent answering key questions, such as whether the $15 million Clinton was paid represented salary or investment fees, or a combination of both.
Also looming in the background is a sex scandal involving Chevyn McClintock, who the New York Post reported in October 2007 was a former mistress of then-married Burkle. McClintock had served as hostess for many of the Clinton fundraisers held by Burkle at his Greenacre in Beverly Hills.
An OpenSecrets.org summary of soft money donations made by the Yucaipa Companies in the pre-McCain-Feingold era, 1999-2000, indicates the company donated a total of $850,000 to Democrats, largely to the Democratic National Committee, and zero to Republicans.