John McCain's 70th birthday bash held on boat of Russian tycoon
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 12, 2008, 00:17
John McCain's campaign is trying to make political hay out of the conviction of
Chicago tycoon Tony Rezko, a one-time fundraiser for presumptive Democratic
presidential candidate Barack Obama. However, the McCain campaign wants to bury
the story of McCain's 70th birthday bash held on board the yacht of a Russian
aluminum tycoon in the Adriatic Sea. The party was held on August 29, 2006,
McCain's birthday and followed a congressional junket by McCain and five other
GOP senators to the Republic of Georgia.
The host for McCain's yacht party off the coast of the
Republic of Montenegro was, according to WMR sources with close links to the
Republican Party, Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's most powerful tycoons
who made his billions in cornering Russia's aluminum market in the 1990s.
The 40-year old Deripaska is also politically-connected,
having married the daughter of Russia's late President Boris Yeltsin. Unlike
most other Russian tycoons, who now live in exile abroad and are protected by
Israeli passports, Deripaska maintains close relations to Russian Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin and another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich, who
was also invested in Russia's aluminum industry. In 2000, Deripaska merged his
firm, Basic Element, with Abramovich's firm, RusAl. Both tycoons
maintain expensive homes in London.
Deripaska has attracted the attention of U.S. law
enforcement and he has been the subject of several civil law suits filed
against him because of his business practices. However, no federal criminal
charges have been brought against Deripaska. That is because Yeltsin's son-in-law
counts, in addition to McCain, former GOP Senator and 1996 GOP presidential
candidate Bob Dole among his most ardent supporters. In 2005, Deripaska paid
Dole $500,000 in lobbying fees and was granted a visa to enter the United
States. However, in 2006, the Wall
Street Journal reported that the U.S. government refused
to grant Deripaska another visa because the FBI discovered he made
"inaccurate statements" to the bureau.
In the past, the Canadian firm Magna International, in which
Deripaska is a $1.5 billion investor, attempted to buy Daimler Chrysler. The
deal ultimately fell through.
McCain and Deripaska first met at a dinner party held
concurrently with the Davos World Economic Forum in January
2006 in Switzerland. The party was hosted by Canadian gold mining billionaire
Peter Munk, owner of Barrick Gold, which has counted former President George H.
W. Bush, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Senator Howard
Baker, major Democratic Party lawyer/lobbyist Vernon Jordan, and former German
Central Bank President Karl Otto Pohl among the members of its
International Advisory Board. The party was arranged by McCain's 2000 campaign
manager Rick Davis of the Washington lobbying group Davis Manafort. Attending
the meeting in Davos were McCain, Davis, Deripaska, and Senators Saxby
Chambliss (R-GA) and John Sununu (R-NH), as well as the host, Munk.
On August 29, 2006, McCain attended a dinner party in
Montenegro that was followed by a champagne reception on a yacht that was
hosted by Deripaska. Also reportedly in attendance was Davis, whose
lobbying firm was representing the government of Montenegro; Munk; and Nathan
Rothschild who, on March 20 of this year held a controversial fundraiser for
McCain at Spencer House in London. The fundraiser raised questions about McCain
receiving illegal "in kind" contributions from a foreign national.
The 70th birthday bash was reportedly a promise of huge cash
donations to McCain's forthcoming presidential campaign, another indication of
violations of law prohibiting donations from foreign sources. The quid pro quo
for Derpaska was that McCain and his top lobbyists were pushing the European
Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) and its Airbus subsidiary to
receive the lucrative US Air Force contract to replace the Air Force's fleet of
refueling tankers. The reported source for the aluminum in the
Airbus tanker aircraft is Deripaska's Russian Aluminum Company
Some two weeks after the McCain birthday bash in Montenegro,
the Russian state-owned Vneshtorgbank announced that it was acquiring more than
5 percent of EADS. At the same time, it was announced that RusAl was in
negotiations to merge with a Russian aluminum competitor, SUAL, and Glencore of
Switzerland, the firm owned by billionaire American fugitive Marc Rich.
The nexus of McCain with Russian oligarchs like Deripaska,
as well as Munk, Rothschild, and Rich signifies that McCain is owned and
operated by the very same entrenched global interests who have held sway in
Washington during the seven-plus years of the George W. Bush administration.
published in the Wayne
Copyright � 2008 WayneMadenReport.com
Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and
nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report.
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