Clinton to Fundraise at L.A. House of Tax Evading Clinton Foundation Donor

Senate report: Peter Lowy held $68 million in offshore tax haven

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton / AP

BY:

Hillary Clinton will attend a $2,700-a-plate luncheon on Friday at the Beverly Hills home of a man who was investigated by the Senate for hiding $68 million in assets in an offshore tax haven.

Peter Lowy, who was born in Australia but is a U.S. citizen, is chief executive officer of the Westfield Group, one of the world’s largest owners of shopping malls. The company was founded by his father, Frank Lowy, and is controlled by the Lowy family.

The family came under fire in 2008 when a report from then-Sens. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) and Norm Coleman (R., Minn.) alleged that the Lowys were hiding $68 million in a Lichtenstein tax haven called the LGT Group.

The relationship between the Lowys and the LGT Group began in 1997 when the family started a Lichtenstein foundation worth $54 million. It grew to $68 million by 2001 when the foundation was dissolved.

The information came during an investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into LGT Group and others that were being used as tax shelters.

"LGT was aware that Mr. Lowy and his sons were hiding assets in the new foundation," according to the report.

Lawyers for Lowy maintained that he did nothing against the law and that "businesses all over the world use a variety of tax structures to legitimately protect their assets." He said all the money was given to charity.

Lowy, however, refused to cooperate with the Senate investigation. He invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination during a hearing held by the committee.

"Senator, I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect. But on the advice of my counsel I assert my rights under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution not to answer any questions," said Lowy.

His lack of cooperation did not end there. Levin said the Lowy family refused to hand over documentation of the charitable donations to his subcommittee.

Lowy was also accused during the hearing by Coleman of taking "a red-eye flight to Australia" to avoid a subpoena.

An investigation into the Lowy finances carried out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) led to further efforts in Bermuda to hide assets that should have been taxed by the United States.

The Friday fundraiser for Hillary Clinton is not the beginning of the Lowy relationship with the Clinton family. The earliest recorded instance came in 1995, when Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign received donations from multiple Lowy family members.

Both Lowy and his wife Janine Lowy also made the maximum allowed contribution to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. They also both donated to Clinton’s 2006 Senate campaign. The couple’s political giving to federal candidates totals over $1 million and remains active.

Lowy has also given between $50,001 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and made donations as recently as last year. His company, the Westfield Corporation, has also made Clinton Foundation donations in the same range.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the Friday event.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.

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