James Riady, a Clinton associate, is looking to buy as much copper as he can get his hands on…
A Chinese billionaire with connections to Bill and Hillary Clinton is seeking to purchase a copper mine in Utah that could return as much as 1.5 billion pounds of the malleable metal.
Riady is the CEO of the Lippo Group, one of Indonesia’s largest real estate developers, but it wasn’t business deals that got him barred from the United States in 2001: he pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to defraud the United States” through illegal campaign contributions to Bill Clinton and other Democrats.
Here’s how the Washington Post described Riady’s situation in 2010:
The ethnic Chinese magnate’s ties to the Clintons have been a source of heated controversy since the late 1990s, when Riady became embroiled in one of the murkiest episodes of the Clinton presidency — a campaign fundraising scandal that caused a big political ruckus in Washington amid Republican Party allegations, never proved, of meddling by China’s intelligence services in American politics.
The saga brought Riady and his family-run conglomerate, Lippo Group, an $8.6 million fine, the biggest penalty in the history of U.S. campaign finance violations.
Riady, who first met Bill Clinton in Arkansas in 1978, later paid $20,000 to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an event sponsored by Clinton.
The copper mine that Riady wants to buy contains roughly 587 million pounds of copper, as well as “significant amounts of recoverable silver, gold and magnetite.”
But while Riady is hoping to buy the mine, it’s not a done deal. The sale would be subject to various approvals and the Trump administration could step in at any time.
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