Local mining magnates drawn into American political arena – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – April 24, 2015)

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Vancouver mining magnates Frank Giustra and Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) chairman Ian Telfer made generous donations to former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s charitable organization at a time when the company they built was acquiring assets in Russia and the U.S., according to the New York Times.

The story suggests the donations may have helped Giustra and Telfer conclude deals that eventually resulted in the Canadian mining company, Uranium One, being acquired by the Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. It suggests former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have had a hand in approving the deal.

Several major U.S. media outlets have weighed in, saying there appears to be little, if any, evidence that Hillary Clinton would even have had knowledge of the deal.

Neither Telfer nor Giustra deny making donations to the Clinton Foundation, but insist there was no lobbying on their behalf from either Bill or Hillary Clinton as a result of the donations.

Telfer told Business in Vancouver that the timelines don’t line up to support the suggestion that Hillary Clinton – former U.S. Secretary of State – would have even been in a position to help his company. Telfer is the former chairman of Uranium One.

The Times story is based, in part, on connections made in a new book by Peter Schweizer between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation. Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, has not been published yet, but was previewed to select media outlets, including the New York Times.

The Times’ own reporting builds on Schweizer’s research and describes what has the appearance of back-door lobbying of a former U.S. president and his wife, Hillary Clinton – now running for president – by Canadian mining executives using charitable organizations on both side of the border.

The story details how Giustra donated more than US$30 million to the Clinton Foundation after his company, UrAsia Energy Ltd., acquired mining assets in Kazakhstan. Giustra exited the company in 2007.

The Times also details how Telfer personally donated up to $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and another $2.35 million through his family foundation, the Fernwood Foundation, to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.

As some observers have pointed out, there is no smoking gun that indicates either Bill or Hillary Clinton had any role in aiding the Canadian mining venture.

“Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown,” the Times states.

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