Former President Bill Clinton canceled a $275,000 speaking engagement at an organization with ties to the Clinton Global Initiative, whose founder has a history of committing economic crimes, the day Clinton was scheduled to speak after the founder was convicted of economic espionage.
Clinton was in Vienna on Dec. 4 to speak at the Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation (CDGC) gala. However, he canceled at the last minute when CGDC founder Stamen Stantchev was sentenced to 11 years in a Romanian prison for forming an espionage network to steal state secrets and insider information to win consulting contracts, reported the New York Post.
This is not the first time that Stantchev has been arrested for economic crimes.
Stantchev, then a consultant for Credit Suisse, was arrested in 2006 for providing secret files to foreign companies taking part in Romanian privatization projects.
The event would not have been Clinton’s first encounter with Stantchev's group.
Stantchev and the CGDC committed an estimated $2 million to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 to provide scholarships for students from the Western Balkans over a period of six years.
Steven Stantchev is still listed by the Clinton Global Initiative as the point of contact for the ongoing program.
Clinton was being paid to present an award to Republic of Kazahkstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been the focus of heavy criticism regarding human rights violations.
Human Rights Watch director David Mepham called the situation under Nazarbayev "serious and deteriorating," due to "credible allegations of torture, the imprisonment of government critics, tight controls over the media and freedom of expression and association, limits in religious freedom, and continuing violation of workers’ rights."
Kanye West was criticized when he was paid roughly $3 million to perform at a wedding party for Nazarbayev’s grandson. Sting canceled a concert in 2011 due to worker oppression by Nazarbayev’s government.
The Clinton Global Initiative did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.