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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Rezko Deal Heating Up As Obama's Poll Numbers Climb

The Democrats could be looking at a serious case of buyer's remorse in another month or so, the way things are going. The Times of London does a quick rundown of the "other end" of Barack Obama's deal to purchase his house.

A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Auchi (presumably pronounced "Ouchie") has a shady past:

Mr Auchi was convicted of corruption, given a suspended sentence and fined £1.4 million in France in 2003 for his part in the Elf affair, described as the biggest political and corporate scandal in post-war Europe. He, in a statement from his media lawyers, claims he is appealing against the sentence.

One bit that I had not heard previously:

Mr Obama says he never used Mrs Rezko's still-empty lot, which could only be accessed through his property.

What? It's land-locked? That is an extremely significant detail, because it makes the land essentially worthless to anybody other than Obama.

As always, when looking into the Rezko deal, check with the Marathon Man, who's been covering this story like a blanket.

The land-locked issue lends credibility to this theory advanced by John: remains my belief that the Obamas and the Rezkos had an agreement to slowly buy the lot--reuniting the properties. In other words, a loan that allowed the Obamas to afford their dream home.

Rick Moran ties it to the culture of corruption in Chicago politics, and does a little background research on Auchi:

First of all, his business dealings make Rezko’s kickback schemes for political contributions look like the minor leagues of sleaze. Auchi had a hand in the biggest political and corporate scandal in post war Europe, the so-called “Elf Affair” where $2 billion francs up and disappeared from the French state oil company Elf.

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