Controversial Clinton-Tied Moroccan Mining Firm Supported by Ex-Im Bank

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton
May 15, 2015

A controversial state-owned Moroccan mining firm that has poured money into Hillary Clinton’s foundation has received more than $92 million in U.S. taxpayer support, public records show.

The firm, OCP, has been accused of violating U.S. and international law. According to a Friday report in Politico, it has also donated $6 million to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

In September, the U.S. Export-Import Bank guaranteed a $92 million Citibank loan to OCP to purchase equipment from two American manufacturers.

That federal support came despite controversial practices by the state-owned company, detailed by Politico in a story on the Clinton Foundation’s OCP-sponsored event in Marrakech.

Former employees of the company decried what they described as its discriminatory and abusive practices.

They say the company, formerly called the Office Chérifien des Phosphates, forced them to retire early and slashed their pensions, leaving them struggling to scrape by while hiring ethnic Moroccans for more senior jobs. The miners also told me how they had witnessed first-hand multiple examples of the "arbitrary and prolonged detention" and "physical and verbal abuse" that the U.S. State Department says Moroccan authorities mete out to Sahrawis advocating for independence in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

"Hillary Clinton sold her soul when they accepted that money," declared Mohamed Lahwaimed, who gathered with the other former miners in a second floor walk-up in the Western Sahara capital of Laayoune, a modern-looking desert town with a population of 200,000 people about 500 miles southeast of Marrakech. Wearing traditional Sahrawi dara’a robes and lounging on worn pillows, they sipped green tea and spoke Arabic. "And now we are concerned that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency of the United States of America, she will take the side of Moroccans even more," Lahwaimed said through an interpreter.

Added fellow former miner Lahbib Salhi, "All the tainted money that Morocco has gathered from taking away our rights has been used to bribe the Clinton Foundation and the international community."

Revelations that OCP has donated millions to the Clinton Foundation have sparked controversy among some Republicans who claim the company may have violated U.S. law.

"We are concerned that OCP may have … been complicit in violations of U.S. trade law" through phosphate extraction activities in occupied territory in the Western Sahara, wrote Reps. Joe Pitts (R., Penn.) and Chris Smith (R., N.J.) in an April letter to the foundation.

They called on the foundation to "discontinue its coordination with OCP and return any accepted money from the enterprise."

OCP’s activities in the Western Sahara have also drawn allegations of international law violations. When Politico reported Ken Vogel visited a town in the Western Sahara last week, he was tailed by Moroccan authorities.

Published under: Clinton Foundation