The PJ Tatler

Obama trade adviser pleads "the Fifth" 100+ times in civil deposition

Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon had a blockbuster story earlier this week that deserved much more attention than what it got.

Back in February, Kredo reported on the case of Houston-based oil magnate Kase Lawal, a top Obama bundler and campaign contributor that had been appointed to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. But then Lawal scandal erupted when he got caught in an illegal gold deal with a Congolese warlord wanted by the war crimes tribunal in the Hague. After the scandal erupted, Lawal’s name was quietly removed from the White House Advisory Committee’s website.

A small Texas company that had leased an airplane to Lawal was unaware of Lawal’s scheme. Their plane was confiscated by the Congolese authorities, who had been tipped off. Now the company is suing Lawal and his brothers for their lost $40 million Gulfstream V jet.

Which brings us to Kredo’s story this week. In a deposition in that civil lawsuit, Obama’s trade adviser plead the Fifth more than a hundred times during his testimony:

A former Obama administration trade adviser accused of plotting to purchase $10 million in gold from a Congolese warlord refused to detail his role in the illegal plot, invoking the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times during confidential court testimony, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

President Obama tapped oil mogul Kase Lawal, a prolific Democratic bundler and Clinton family confidante, to serve as a member of the White House’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2010. Lawal’s name no longer appears on the website.

Soon after his appointment, court documents allege, Lawal became entangled in a plot to purchase nearly 2,500 pounds of Congolese gold from Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel commander who has been linked by the International Criminal Court to ethnic massacres and rapes. […]

Lawal exploited his close ties to the White House to convince those around him that the gold deal was a legal transaction despite the warlord’s involvement, depositions reveal.

Testimony offered by Lawal’s key point man, Carlos St. Mary, indicates that Lawal sunk millions of CAMAC’s money into a deal rife with fraud and deceit. Lawal’s alleged actions would have violated a U.N. ban on doing business with rogue Congolese warlords.

David Disiere, owner of Southlake Aviation, the Texas-based firm that leased CAMAC International a Gulfstream jet later seized by authorities, told the Free Beacon that Lawal presented himself as a legitimate businessman, and touted his close ties to the Obama administration.

“You’ve got a man on this international economic advisory council appointed by President Obama,” said Disiere, owner of the $40 million dollar luxury Gulfstream V jet seized during the incident. “I just expected more.”

“You’ve got a man on this international economic advisory council appointed by President Obama. I just expected more”.

There’s your problem right there.