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Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Hearing Highlights, 7/29/97

Here are some highlights from Tuesday's session of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's campaign finance hearings:

Wire Transfers From Foreign Sources

campane

"From 1994 to 1996, Trie received a steady stream of funds by wire transfer from foreign sources, the bulk of which was wired from accounts attained by Mr. Wu or monies that he controlled. Trie's bank records from 1994 to the end of 1996 revealed periodic wire transfers from Mr. Wu to accounts associated with Trie or one of his businesses totalling over $900,000."

-- FBI special agent Jerry Campane, who has been detailed to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, outlining a complex maze of wire transfers from Asia to Charlie Trie, a Little Rock businessman and longtime friend of Bill Clinton.

Laundered $220,000

collins

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine): "We've listened to you present a very complex maze of financial transactions involving Charlie Trie. Just to summarize, am I correct that your investigation has found that the total amount of contributions to the DNC which you believe were laundered, either by or through Mr. Trie, approximated $220,000; is that correct?"

Campane: "That's correct, senator."


Largest Source Of Income

"Daihatsu received virtually no net income. Trie's bank records further show that Mr. Wu's wire transfers represented the largest source of income to Trie and his companies and that "commissions" received from Mr. Wu were the apparent source of these contributions. Furthermore, Mr. Wu has admitted to members of the press that San Kin Yip International Trading, in Little Rock, its $50,000 to the DNC on October 21, 1994, was made with foreign funds."

-- Campane, who said that Trie would not have had the money to cover donations to the DNC without foreign money wires.

Unsuccessful Business Deals

"Trie pursued trading opportunities involving products as varied as safe deposit boxes and chickens. But few, if any, of these ventures, ever developed into successful business deals."

-- Campane, categorizing Trie as an unsuccessful businessman

Intentional Use Of Foreign Money

"In my professional opinion, there is no question that this was clearly a foreign source and an intentional use of the foreign source money."

-- Campane

China Connection

baron

Democratic Counsel Alan Baron: "In the course of your investigation into Mr. Trie and his relationship with Mr. Wu, did you find any evidence that money from the Chinese government was involved in any of the transfers to Mr. Trie that you've described?"

Campane: "I'm unable to say whether any of the funds that appeared to originate with Mr. Wu may have came from an earlier originating source. Mr. Wu has not made himself available to answer that kind of a question, which I would certainly like to put to him. And so I really just cannot say whether there's any originating government source behind the money that Mr. Wu furnished to Mr. Trie."

Baron: "And I take it your answer is you did not find any affirmative evidence that established a relationship between the money that came from Mr. Wu to Mr. Trie back to the Chinese government."

Campane: "That is correct. But that kind of affirmative evidence would probably come, based upon my experience in criminal cases, from the ability to access foreign bank records. In this case, of course, it's my understanding the committee's authority stops at the Pacific Ocean line."

A Slam-Dunk

smith

Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.): "So would you conclude from that that Trie's check was probably intended as a reimbursement for Keshi Zhan's contribution."

Campane: "That is what I conclude, particularly in light of the fact that she wrote both checks; one to herself to give her the $12,500 from Mr. Trie's account, so that she could then move that $12,500 from her account to the Democratic National Committee. In essence, not touching her own $15,229."

Smith: "That sound like money laundering to you?"

Campane: "It's what we call in the business a 'slam dunk,' senator."

Valuable Friends

"Trie believed that he could capitalize on his friendship with the president and members of his staff who Trie knew from Little Rock."

-- Campane, commenting on Trie's motivation for contributing to the DNC

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