A billionaire Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the United States last year for suspected links to terrorism, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Gilbert Chagoury, who contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation and gave $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, was barred entry into the U.S. because of his connection to a Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization.
A 2013 FBI intelligence report said Chagoury donated funds to Michel Aoun, a Lebanese Christian politician whose party has been part of a decade-long political coalition with Hezbollah. A source told the FBI that Aoun was "facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah" and had transferred Chagoury’s donation to the terrorist group.
The U.S. placed Chagoury in a database used to screen travelers for potential terrorism links. The State Department last summer rejected his application for a visitor’s visa after he applied through the U.S. Embassy in Paris, citing terrorism-related grounds. He intended to travel to Los Angeles.
The report comes weeks after newly released State Department emails revealed that a top associate at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 pushed to set up a meeting between Chagoury and the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon because of the billionaire’s affairs in the region.
The Trump campaign has accused the foundation of using pay-for-play tactics during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and renewed calls over the weekend for the charity to close down.
"The fact a major Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the U.S. over ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah is deeply troubling, especially when this individual had access to top aides at Hillary Clinton’s State Department," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Sunday.
U.S. authorities previously questioned Chagoury in 2010 after he was pulled off a private jet in New Jersey because he was on Homeland Security’s no-fly list. He was later removed from the list and marked as a "selectee," allowing him to fly but under heightened scrutiny.
Chagoury spokesman Mark Corallo told the Los Angeles Times that the Clinton Foundation donor "has been a friend and supporter of America all his life."
"Any allegation that Mr. Chagoury is involved in any way with providing material support to any terrorist organization, of any stripe, is false, outrageous, and defamatory," he said.
Chagoury believed it was "unfair" for federal officials to disclose the incident and to "suggest that he was a potential threat," according to Corallo.