Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch plans to sue the U.S. State Department for copies of emails and other communications between former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and close members of her family who gave to the Clinton Foundation and who were recently pinched by the feds on major fraud and corruption charges.
The move comes as the Justice Department launches a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in influence-peddling or other illegal activities while Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009-2013.
As deputy chief of staff for Clinton, Abedin agreed to arrange State Department meetings with business partners of her first cousin, Omar Amanat, a major donor to the Clinton Foundation who last month was convicted by a Manhattan jury of federal fraud charges. The partners scored at least $1.3 million in federal grant money, as WND first reported earlier this year.
Recently released State Department emails reveal the convicted swindler, who awaits sentencing April 25, tried to cash in on his family ties to the former State official — and his lobbying appears to have paid off primarily for his anti-“Islamophobia” group based in Egypt.
“Influence-peddling is putting it nicely,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, adding that the deal “warrants further investigation.”
Court records show that Abedin’s “closest” cousin, who goes by the family nickname “Omi,” cheated investors in Kit Digital Inc. of millions of dollars between 2009 and 2012, forcing the tech start-up to go bankrupt in 2013.
Another Abedin cousin, Irfan Mohammed Amanat, is under indictment in the same case. He was arrested in December after returning to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates. His New York trial is set to begin Feb. 8.
Kit Digital appears in State emails sent to Abedin from Amanat and a business partner. In June 2009, not long after starting Kit Digital and just months after his cousin was named deputy chief of staff to Clinton, Omar Amanat helped his business partner solicit Abedin for State favors on behalf of Soliya Inc., which was in partnership with Kit Digital. Summit Entertainment, a film company Amanat held a controlling stake in at the time, also stood to benefit.
“Thanks for getting in touch. Would love to arrange a meeting,” Abedin replied in a June 23, 2009, email to Amanat and Shamil Idriss, who heads New York-based Soliya Inc.
In May 2010, Clinton helped Soliya get access to U.N. funding by making the U.S. a participant in a U.N. high-tech media initiative called the Alliance of Civilizations. Then in October 2010, the State Department directly awarded Soliya $1.25 million for a media technology project.
“Huma helped Omar make KIT appear more valuable because of its association with the Alliance of Civilizations, which was approved by Hillary and funded in part by U.S. grants,” said an attorney familiar with the case. “This helped Omar raise money for KIT, which he and his brother misappropriated for other purposes. Approximately $6 million has vanished.”
Amanat took KIT Digital public in August 2009.
At the time, Amanat, known as a “serial swindler,” was in personal bankruptcy and being sued by other investors. Despite his reputation, he still managed to gain special access to the government thanks to his ties to his well-placed cousin and the Clinton Foundation.
“A question for investigators is, did Huma Abedin ever alert others in the State Department that this cousin of hers was a bankrupt serial fraudster?” the attorney said, adding that “it wasn’t just the Clintons abusing the federal system but also, so it appears, Abedin and her own corrupt family.”
Records show that Amanat and several other family members and related charities have together donated as much as $1.2 million to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative, as well as the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
Amanat, who personally contributed as much as $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation, was appointed to the Council on Foreign Relations during the time that Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state.
Idriss is an Egyptian activist, who according to IRS 990s recently filed by Soliya, keeps an office in Cairo, which is the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement. Abedin, as well as her mother and father, have been members of organizations identified by the U.S. Justice Department as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The federal funds received by Soliya were intended to, among other things, produce media content to combat “Islamophobia.”
In March 2016, State Department records show that Idriss landed a closed-door meeting with an undersecretary of state. It’s not clear what they discussed. Their meeting was closed to the press.
On May 1, 2017, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the State Department for all emails and other documents related to Abedin and the Amanats, as well as Idriss, to see if they were involved in a “pay-for-play scheme.” While the prominent watchdog group received an acknowledgement letter from State on May 23 and was assigned a case number, an official said, it still has not receive any of the requested records.
As a result, Judicial Watch is preparing to file a lawsuit for the information, which could factor into the reopened federal investigation of the Clinton Foundation, which focuses on questions about whether donors to the Clinton charitable group received favorable treatment from the State Department.
Federal investigators say Omar Amanat deleted emails from his Yahoo account — [email protected] — between 2008 and 2012 — a period that covered Abedin’s tenure at the State Department when he solicited her for government favors, as WND reported last week. Abedin’s other cousin, Irfan, primarily used a Google account — [email protected]
Court records reveal that Omar Amanat involved his father in a scheme to fabricate email evidence by including him in a faked email chain. His defense lawyer who introduced to the government these fraudulent emails as exculpatory evidence works for the same New York law firm retained by his cousin Huma Abedin. Amanat also had his uncle invest in his scams, as well as the husband of Huma’s sister, Sohail Khalid. Also, back in 2002, he had his mother notarize a fraudulent sale of assets to protect those assets from federal bankruptcy court. Meanwhile, his brother is awaiting trial in a related criminal fraud.
“Considering the other family members’ involvement with each other, it’s hard to imagine Huma Abedin would not also be involved” in the Amanats’ affairs, the attorney said.
Attempts to reach Abedin for comment were unsuccessful. Amanat’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.” Follow him on Twitter: @paulsperry_