Friend "Declined To Comment For The Record."
June 4, 1992.
"Federal authorities are investigating the activities of a Houston
businessman -- a past investor in демотон т daribar.kz controlled by a son of
President Bush -- who has been accused of illegally representing Saudi
interests in the United States.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network -- known as FinCEN -- and the FBI
are reviewing accusations that entrepreneur James R. Bath guided money to
Houston from Saudi investors who wanted to influence U.S. policy under the
Reagan and Bush administrations, sources close to the investigations say.
FinCEN, a division of the U.S. Department of Treasury, investigates money
laundering. Special agents and analysts from various law enforcement
agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Customs
Service, are assigned to work with the FinCEN staff.
"The federal review stems in part from court documents obtained through
litigation by Bill White, a former real estate business associate of Bath .
White contends the documents indicate that the Saudis were using Bath and
their huge financial resources to influence U.S. policy.
Such representation by Bath would require that he be registered as a
foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice. In general, people
required by law to be registered are those who represent a foreign entity
seeking to influence governmental action or policy. An Annapolis graduate
and former Navy fighter pilot, White, 46, claims that Bath and the judicial
system, under the veil of national security, have blackballed him
professionally and financially because he has refused to keep quiet about
what he regards as a conspiracy to secretly funnel Saudi dollars to the
United States. White became entangled in a series of lawsuits and
countersuits with Bath, who for some six years has prevailed in the courts.
White says the legal action has financially devasted him and Venturcorp
Inc., the real estate development company in which he and Bath were
"In sworn depositions, Bath said he represented four prominent Saudis as a
trustee [one of whom was Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen] and that he would
use his name on their investments. In return, he said, he would receive a 5
percent interest in their deals. Tax documents and personal financial
records show that Bath personally had a 5 percent interest in Arbusto '79
Ltd., and Arbusto '80 Ltd., limited partnerships controlled by George W.
Bush, President Bush's eldest son. Arbusto means bush in Spanish. Bath
invested $50,000 in the limited partnerships, according to the documents.
There is no available evidence to show whether the money came from Saudi
"George W. Bush's company, Bush Exploration Co., general partner in the
limited partnerships, went through several mergers, eventually evolving
into Harken Energy Corp., a suburban Dallas-based company. Bush, known
informally as George Jr., is a shareholder and director of Harken, which
has been granted lucrative offshore drilling rights off the coast of
Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. One of the top shareholders of Harken, a
public company, is Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. Bush said that
to his knowledge, Bath 's investment was from personal funds, and no Saudi
money was invested in Arbusto . Bath , 55, a former U.S. Air Force pilot,
declined to comment for the record. Spokesmen for FinCEN and the FBI also
declined to comment."
According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after Bush was appointed
director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen
appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston. Binladen, along
with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest
construction companies in the Middle East. According to White, Bath told
him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role with Saudi Arabia since
Bath has previously denied having worked for the CIA. In a sworn
deposition, Bath said he was the sole director of Skyway Aircraft Leasing
Ltd., a company that a court document shows is owned by Khaled bin Mahfouz.
Bin Mahfouz had been a major shareholder in the Bank of Credit and Commerce
International, a banking empire that has been accused of money laundering
and of using Mideast oil money to seek ties to political leaders in several
countries. Mahfouz and his family own the National Commercial Bank of Saudi
In 1990, Bath bought the Express Auto Park garage at Hobby Airport
for $8.4 million, which included a $1.4 million loan provided by Mahfouz,
according to transaction documents. Bath received a 5 percent interest in
the companies that own and operate Houston Gulf Airport after purchasing it
on behalf of Binladen in 1977. After Binladen died in 1988, his interests
in the airport were taken over by Mahfouz, according to court documents.