While Hillary Clinton loyal aide Huma Abedin was reportedly sidelined in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign as a result of Abedin’s husband’s child-porn scandal, she was potentially an even greater liability than known. It turns out Anthony Weiner wasn’t the only family member under investigation.
In fact, the U.S. Justice Department has been actively prosecuting two other Abedin family members – for conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud – and she along with the State Department, where she previously worked for Clinton, are mentioned in the federal case, court records show.
Other documents reveal the same allegedly crooked kin solicited Abedin for help at State in a deal that netted more than $1.2 million in federal grants.
These undesirable family connections, revealed here for the first time, raise fresh questions about influence peddling at the State Department under Clinton, who is now reportedly working with Abedin on a political comeback.
Abedin’s relatives were major donors to the Clinton Foundation. And Abedin drew a salary from the Clinton Foundation, while at the same time working for the government.
Records show that her first cousin, Omar Amanat, is under federal indictment for cheating investors in Kit Digital Inc. of millions of dollars between 2009 and 2012, forcing the tech start-up to go bankrupt in 2013. He has been placed under house arrest as he awaits trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 2.
Another Abedin cousin, Irfan Amanat, is under indictment in the same case. He was arrested in December after returning to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates.
Prosecutors say Omar Amanat illegally diverted millions of dollars from investments in Kit Digital “for his personal use,” including “luxury properties in Manhattan.” He “never disclosed these misappropriations to investors,” who were misled about the value of the company by false balance sheets. He has pleaded not guilty.
Recent letters, Part 1 and Part 2 here, from attorneys for Omar and another co-defendant asking the judge to ease their detention reveal that Omar once warned Huma while she was at the State Department that she and other family members were under threat of being “hurt” by “special collection agents” trying to recover stolen funds. Court exhibits reveal that Omar was worried about Huma’s safety and contacted the State Department to make her “aware of this incident.”
Moreover, Kit Digital appears in State Department emails sent to Abedin from Amanat and a business partner. In June 2009, not long after starting Kit Digital and just months after his cousin was named deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton, Amanat helped his business partner solicit Abedin for State favors on behalf of Soliya Inc., which was in partnership with Kit Digital. Summit Entertainment, a film company Amanat held a controlling stake in at the time, also stood to benefit.
In May 2010, Clinton helped Soliya get access to U.N. funding by making the U.S. a participant in a U.N. high-tech media initiative called the Alliance of Civilizations. Then in October 2010, the State Department directly awarded Soliya $1.25 million for a media technology project.
“Huma helped Omar make KIT appear more valuable because of its association with the Alliance of Civilizations, which was approved by Hillary and funded in part by U.S. grants,” said an attorney familiar with the case. “This helped Omar raise money for KIT, which he and his brother misappropriated for other purposes. Approximately $6 million has vanished.”
Amanat took KIT Digital public in August 2009.
At the time, Amanat, known as a “serial swindler,” was in personal bankruptcy and being sued by other investors. Despite his reputation, he still managed to gain special access to the government thanks to his ties to his well-positioned cousin and the Clinton Foundation.
Records show that Amanat and several other family members and related charities have together donated as much as $1.2 million to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative, as well as the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
Amanat, who personally contributed as much as $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation, was appointed to the Council on Foreign Relations during the time that Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state.
While the FBI has closed its espionage investigation into Clinton’s unsecured private email server, its public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation remains open. It’s not clear if this still-active probe overlaps with the Amanat fraud investigation. However, investigators reportedly continue to look into alleged “pay-for-play” schemes involving the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation and its wealthy donors, as well as entities that paid the Clintons millions of dollars in speaking fees.
Judicial Watch and other government watchdog groups have charged that the Clinton Foundation was a pay-for-play operation that rewarded its benefactors with State Department favors.
Meanwhile, Abedin’s estranged husband, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, remains under federal investigation for child pornography. The laptop Weiner used to communicate with an underage girl was seized by the FBI and helped derail Clinton’s presidential bid when FBI Director James Comey announced in October that some of her emails to Abedin had been found on it.
The emails were stored on a Yahoo account. Interestingly, federal investigators say Omar Amanat tried to scrub emails from his own Yahoo account so they couldn’t obtain them as evidence.
In 2008, “Omar Amanat emailed Irfan Amanat and requested his help to ‘delete all of my emails from the Yahoo site but download them onto my laptop,’” a December court filing says. “Omar Amanat expressed ‘concern about them subpening Yahoo at some point.’”
Amanat’s attorney, Eric Creizman, did not respond to requests for comment. Attempts to reach Abedin were unsuccessful. Former Clinton campaign press secretary Nick Merrill did not reply to questions.
Though never reported in the media until now, the Abedin and Amanat families are not only related but very close, maintaining roots in New Jersey going back decades.
In fact, Omar Amanat’s parents, Sharif and Hamida Amanat, once hosted Huma Abedin’s parents, Syed and Saleha Abedin, at their New Jersey home when Huma’s ailing father had to move back temporarily from Saudi Arabia to undergo a kidney transplant. The Amanats helped the couple continue publishing their Saudi-based journal promoting Shariah law from the U.S. In fact, Omar’s mother, Hamida Amanat, has contributed articles to the journal.
“Dr. Sharif Amanat and his precious wife Hamida created an environment so congenial and supportive that without it it would have been impossible to function effectively,” a recovering Syed Abedin wrote in a 1991 issue of his “Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs Journal.” “I have no words to thank them.”
Omar and Huma, who are related through their mothers, who are sisters, have also maintained a long and close-knit relationship.
Property and financial records show that in 1999, when Huma was in Washington working as a White House aide to then-first lady Clinton, Omar used her D.C. condo as one of the addresses for another of his start-ups, Tradescape Corp.
After Omar Amanat sold Tradescape to E-Trade in 2002 for $100 million in stock, he started the Amanat Family Support Trust, which names cousins as well as immediate family members as beneficiaries – meaning Huma Abedin would stand to benefit from his family trust.
Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.” Follow him on Twitter: @paulsperry_