Clinton Foundation Donor Sues U.S. Over Reports of Terrorism Ties

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton / AP
September 16, 2016

A billionaire Clinton Foundation donor who was denied entry into the United States last year for suspected terrorism ties sued the government over allegations that he helped fund militant groups.

Gilbert Chagoury, who contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation and pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, filed a lawsuit in a D.C. federal court Thursday charging that the State Department refused to grant him a visa because of "false information," Law Newz reported Friday.

The suit also implicates the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, National Counter Terrorism Center, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Chagoury charged that the government "compounded this injustice" by leaking information about the incident to a Los Angeles Times reporter.

The Times reported last month that Chagoury was barred entry into the U.S. in 2015 because of his connection to a Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization.

The Times cited a 2013 FBI intelligence report disclosing that 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. subsequently placed Chagoury in a database used to screen travelers for potential terrorism links, the Times reported, citing interagency memos.

The lawsuit said the government provided the Times with "misinformation" that "improperly impugned" Chagoury’s reputation, charging that the government violated federal law, including his constitutional right to due process. Chagoury also claimed the incident has hurt his ability to do business because banks refuse to work with him or his representatives.

Chagoury spokesman Mark Corallo told the Times in August that any allegation suggesting the Clinton Foundation donor is involved with providing material support to a terrorist organization "is false, outrageous, and defamatory."

Chagoury was implicated last month in pay-to-play accusations that foundation donors were given special access to Hillary Clinton’s State Department during her tenure as secretary of state.

State Department emails released in early August 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.