A top bundler for President Barack Obama and now Hillary Clinton previously entered into a joint venture agreement with a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund accused of embezzling more than $3 billion dollars internationally.
The troubles surrounding 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB), a state investment fund created by the Malaysian government to promote economic development in the country, has garnered increased headlines in recent days after it was discovered that actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation is linked to the foreign entity.
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DiCaprio was slated to host a $33,400-a-head fundraiser at his Hollywood Hills home Tuesday for Hillary Clinton but backed out last minute, citing a scheduling conflict. The fundraiser was moved to the home of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. The Clinton campaign denied the change of venue had anything to do with DiCaprio’s foundation being tied to the embezzlement scheme, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Department of Justice is investigating high-level officials at 1MDB and their associates for misappropriating $3.5 billion in funds between 2009 and 2015, according to a July press release. The U.S. government is seeking to recover $1 billion that was laundered through the United States and connected to the scandal.
President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have links to the CEO of a private equity group that partnered with 1MDB during the time the Malaysian fund is accused of money laundering.
DuSable Capital Management, a D.C.-based renewable energy and infrastructure investment firm, was launched in July 2013 to focus on equity and debt investments in companies involved with alternative energy in the United States and markets around the world with specific interest in Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia, Burma, Brazil, Russia, and India, according to the firm’s regulatory filing.
Shortly after its launch, DuSable raised a $505 million fund called the Yurus Private Equity I, LP, according to a Bloomberg report. A few months later, in September 2013, DuSable Capital filed documents with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit to represent the government of Malaysia and 1MDB. DuSable was paid $506,000 by 1MDB.
DuSable’s job would be to help the Malaysian entity with power plant development by providing financial planning assistance while helping the fund find sites for solar projects.
1MDB, via its wholly-owned subsidy 1MDB Synergy Sdn. Bhd., entered into a Master Joint Venture Agreement with Yurus Private Equity Fund to develop solar power plants in Malaysia in April 2014. DuSable acted as the investment adviser to the Yurus PE Fund and was given 49 percent ownership in the shareholding agreement. The remaining 51 percent went to 1MDB Synergy.
Six months after the joint venture agreement was struck, 1MDB paid DuSable Capital $69 million for its 49 percent stake in the joint venture. The groups said the sale occurred before construction on any projects had taken place.
Frank White Jr. is the founder and CEO of DuSable Capital Management. He was the national vice chair for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and was a top bundler. It’s estimated that White has raised $10 million for Obama and Democrats.
White is now a member of Hillary Clinton’s National Finance Committee and has bundled more than $100,000 for the Democratic nominee since the inception of the campaign. White hosted a $2,700 per head fundraiser for Clinton at his Washington, D.C., home in September of last year.
White has also given anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation through DuSable Capital Management. He did not return a request for comment.
Shomik Dutta, the co-founder of DuSable Capitial, is also a Clinton backer. In April 2015, he donated $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign. When the Washington Free Beacon first attempted to contact DuSable Capital, an automated message was returned saying Dutta is no longer with the group.
DuSable itself has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. The Justice Department did not return an inquiry asking if DuSable Capital is implicated in the investigation into 1MDB given their financial transactions.