Dem Donor Accused of Fraud Freed on $25M Bail

Allegedly tried to scam $74 million from bank

Friday, Aug 28, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Dem Donor Accused of Fraud Freed on $25M Bail

AP

Hassan Nemazee, a key Democrat fundraiser, is charged with lying to Citibank to get a $74 million loan.

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A prominent fundraiser for President Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top Democrats left jail Wednesday for his $20 million Manhattan apartment, where he will remain under house arrest.

Investment banker Hassan Nemazee, 59, left U.S. District Court in Manhattan shortly after noon, his folded prescription eyeglasses dangling from the front of his pink shirt.

He spent one night at the Metropolitan Correctional Center next to the courthouse after his Tuesday arrest on a bank fraud charge. Prosecutors say he used "fraudulent and forged" documents to get a $74 million business loan.

Nemazee must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet during his house arrest.

As he left the courthouse, he mildly pushed away a photographer who was standing in front of the door of a gray sedan waiting for him.

At his side was his lawyer, Marc Mukasey, who would only say to reporters: "We have no comment now. We're going home."
The chairman and chief executive of Manhattan-based Nemazee Capital Corp. served as national finance chairman for Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008. He raised money for Obama after her primary defeat.

Nemazee was freed under a $25 million bail package that requires him to pledge his Park Avenue apartment and a Katonah, N.Y., home worth $8 million as collateral within a week. He has $24 million of equity in the properties. He is also banned from using computers or the Internet or getting new cell phones or bank loans.

Mukasey on Tuesday called the bail terms "draconian" and "staggering."

When Mukasey argued for his client to be released Tuesday before the electronic monitoring could be arranged, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hillebrect protested, saying prosecutors have reasons to believe Nemazee is a flight risk.

To release him without an electronic bracelet "would be a huge mistake," Hillebrect said.

FBI agents stopped the financier on Sunday at Newark Liberty International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Rome, according to court papers. The agents said he paid off the $74 million loan the next day.

According to a criminal complaint, Nemazee arranged a $25 million bank line of credit to borrow from in 2006 and extended it last November so he could borrow up to $80 million. The original credit line required him to have a minimum net worth of $250 million while the extended credit line required his net worth to be at least $500 million.

The charges resulted after Citibank sought to verify his collateral assets and discovered that Nemazee had used forged documents to show he had financial accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the complaint said.

Nemazee, who has not had to enter a plea because he has not been indicted, faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

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