Behind the Blinds at...
First Hawaiian Bank
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
February 6, 2007
Kalama named schools trustee
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Advertiser
The state Probate Court yesterday appointed First Hawaiian Bank executive Corbett Kalama as a trustee of the $7.7 billion Kamehameha Schools.
Kalama replaces Constance Lau, who announced last year that she would step down from the trust's five-member board after she was named chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.
Kalama is an executive vice president at First Hawaiian and is responsible for the bank's O'ahu region, where he manages about 500 employees and $3.8 billion in business and individual assets.
"Corbett is a fine Hawaiian leader, and I think he will do a good job as a trustee," said Jan Dill, a 1950 Kamehameha Schools graduate and a board member of Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, an organization made up of Kamehameha Schools parents and graduates.
Kalama, whose appointment takes effect April 1, will serve the remainder of Lau's five-year term, which expires on June 30, 2008. Kalama can be reappointed for a maximum of two five-year terms.
He joins trustees Diane Plotts, Robert Kihune, Nainoa Thompson and J. Douglas Ing. Ing was reappointed Friday to a five-year term.
Trustees each receive about $100,000 in annual compensation; the board's chairman earns about $110,000....
All three finalists are of Hawaiian ancestry.
"You had three good candidates," said Oswald Stender, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and former Kamehameha Schools trustee. "But having someone with a financial background to replace Connie is great. ... He's a very good person with very strong Hawaiian values."...
Kalama joins a trust that is in the middle of a 15-year strategic plan to broaden its educational reach. His appointment also comes as the school has faced several legal challenges to its Hawaiian-preference admissions policy.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the policy last year but the case could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kalama has been a First Hawaiian employee since 1982. He is a trustee of the University of Hawai'i Foundation and has served as trustee for the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center.
Prior to joining First Hawaiian, Kalama worked as a teacher at Kailua High School. Kalama's wife is a schoolteacher, and three of his four children graduated from the Kamehameha Schools.
"Corbett is an exceptional banker and a man of integrity," said First Hawaiian President and Chief Executive Officer Don Horner. "His personal background, experience, and heart are well suited for the mission of Kamehameha Schools."
Paulette Moore, a 1952 Kamehameha Schools graduate, said Kalama impressed alumni and members of the school's 'ohana during a candidates forum last November.
During his presentation, Kalama recited his genealogy in the Hawaiian language, which convinced many of the kupuna in the audience that he was the right person, Moore said.
"We felt we didn't need another lawyer. We needed someone with a different point of view," said Moore. "Because he came from such a large family that struggled, he understands how it is that Hawaiians live on the beach."
Na Pua's Dill said members of his organization, while pleased with Kalama's appointment, were critical of the way in which the court went about the selection. Members of the Kamehameha Schools 'ohana had too little input in the way the selection was made, he said.
"The composition of the selection process guarantees the continuation of status quo," Dill said.
* * * * *
GET THE LATEST UPDATES IN
THE CATBIRD’S NEST
FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK: BEHIND THE BLINDS
* * * * *
August 31, 2006
FOLLOW THE MONEY
NATIVE HAWAIIAN ECONOMICS
By Bumpy Kanahele
The following mana'o is in preparation to provide an immediate Economic plan to counter federal funding programs which provide the elderly, children, health, housing, education, employment programs and services to the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) people. The Kanaka Maoli community have the worst social conditions in Hawai'i. In fact, the Kanaka Maoli are the worst economically distressed population in Hawai'i.
Economic Self determination means that the Hawaiian people have an undivided interest in the land and natural resources, but also in the wealth (kala) of our Ali'i, public and private trusts and agencies. Billions of dollars of Hawaiian trust funds in cash are in at least the top three financial institutions today, Bank of Hawaii (BoH), First Hawaiian Bank (FHB) and American Savings (ASB) in which they have benefitted hundreds of billions of dollars in leverage.
If this is so, then hundreds of Millions to BILLIONS of dollars in local Banks now are making tons of money through a 10 to 1 capital leverage formula. We're not talking about service fees and interest rates, these fees are merely "added value" to the Banking business, we're talking about a 10 to 1 leverage of profit-making potential.
OHA is a great example of this leverage, I believe in 1998 to 2000, they had something like 300 to 600 million dollars in First Hawaiian Bank, with their "capital leverage formula" that is 3 to 6 billion dollars in leverage to lend and invest in the community. The other thing to know about FHB is that it is owned by Bank Nationale de Paris of France. This means that Kanaka Maoli funding is also financing programs and projects in other countries, and that is just FHB.
As for Bank of Hawaii (Catbird: Hey,that’s my Bank!) it makes you wonder whose Bank that really is. Of course it also makes you wonder about Connie Lau, Kamehameha Schools Trustee CEO who is also the CEO of American Savings Bank (ASB). One of the biggest shareholders of ASB is multi-national corporation, Helco.
This is just a small portion of what we find when we Follow the Money....
And you can continue to Follow that Crooked Money Trail at...
September 26, 2000
Untold Tales of the West
by Greg Wongham
There’s a story unfolding throughout the western part of America (Utah, Nevada, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) that is not being told and unlike the great sagas of pioneering men and women that founded of the country, this story of the West is being hushed up and here's the reason why.
This story is about the banking company, Bank of the West, and the bank holding company that controls it, BancWest.
BancWest was created when Hawaii’s second largest bank, 1st Hawaiian Bank merged with Bank of the West, which is controlled by the French banking firm BanqueWest. This consolidation of capital between European, Hawaii and the California based Bank of the West has created the 2nd largest bank in Utah. They will have 118 branches in Northern and Central California, 30 branches in Oregon, 9 branches in Washington, 68 branches in Utah and Idaho and 23 branches in New Mexico and 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The public should be concerned about these mega changes in the banking system because of the similarities they bare to the changes in the banking system that caused the failure of the thrift banks throughout the country in the ‘80s. The failure of the thrifts amounted to $328 billion of losses and in 1989, the closing of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Company (FSLIC). If the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) falls victim to the myriad of unforeseen banking problems that arose in the ‘80s, then a crisis exist that threatens the principles of the FDIC and exposes the ordinary citizen to financial ruin.
The politically connected role of 1st Hawaiian Bank is integrally linked to Washington and Wall Street. It existed during the tenure of former Secretary of the Treasury, William Simon, who served during the Reagan Administration (1970-1979), and through the tenure of former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, who served during the Clinton Administration (1993-1999), until he resigned in May of 1999. 1st Hawaiian’s CEO, Walter Dods and former Governor John Waihee, as well as, Hawaii’s present Governor Ben Cayetano were listed as guest who were slept overnight and met with President Clinton at the White house. The mere fact that these people are acquainted is no crime, so, what's the problem?
The problems are based on loan losses that may have been carried on the books of 1st Hawaiian Bank since 1975, when Hawaii’s first thrift bank failed. 1st Hawaiian took over the ailing thrift at the behest of then (D) Governor George Ariyoshi, who was also one of the bank’s directors. From 1975 to 1983, nine of Hawaii’s 20 thrift banks, as well as, Hawaii’s equivalent of the FSLIC, Thrift Guaranty, failed. Hawaii’s Thrift Guaranty was established by the State legislature and contained provisions that mandated that the monies contributed into Thrift Guaranty would come from the 20 State chartered banks.
The monies would be used to insure depositors accounts up to $10,000 per account. In 1985, 1st Hawaiian Bank’s CEO, Walter Dods was reported to have come to the rescue of the State’s thrifts by loaning the State $32 million, which would eventually be repaid by the taxpayers of Hawaii.
A run on the Hawaii banks ensued, based on the outcry from the public surrounding rumors of insider deals and political corruption linking the Governor and his brother James Ariyoshi. Hawaii’s Democratic Party machine appointed Ms Donna Tanoue as the Hawaii Bank Examiner after he was made the scapegoat for stalling and not taking action sooner. Ms. Tanoue white-washed the situation; and, in the end; no one was held accountable and no one did time. Reports suggested that the Governor had intervened on behalf of his good friend and long time political supporter, developer Norman Inaba. This was similar to the classic question that arose across the country as one thrift after another failed, it ask, “what are the risks when a bank loans the majority of its money to one developer?”
The loan losses that have been carried on the books of 1st Hawaiian as “goodwill” assets came back to haunt the bank in 1998, as the bank attempted to expand and buy-out other banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) standards required banks to set aside cash reserves to cover both old and new loan losses. The bank realized that this might present problems for them and their future plans to expand. That’s when the Hawaii Democratic machine was able to influence President Clinton to appoint Ms. Donna Tanoue to the position of Chairman, of the FDIC. Since then, the FDIC has lessened their standards and a record number of banks have failed. The results of which is that the FDIC has lost money.
The greatest threat to the people of California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado and the other western states that the Bank of the West will call home, lies in the fact that the FDIC is the agency that decides whether or not, one bank has the financial capacity to buy out another bank. If Ms. Tanoue is allowed to cover-up for her politically connected banker friends as she did before; then the public should beware of the financial losses that may accrue if the bank’s losses rise.
Last week, the Japan Travel Bureau, warned Japanese travelers about going to Saipan because of the rising crime including murders, and increasing drug problems. BancWest has begun operations in Saipan. If tourism suffers because of the social unrest, then business suffers and banks lose money. The question that arose as the savings and loans failed was, what is the risk of banks loaning the majority of their money to one developer? The question that the public should ask is, what are the risk of a bank holding company that seeks to do business in countries that are experiencing social and political instability?
The Clinton / Gore link to the Hawaii bank scandal
Before the politically connected Hawaii banks could fulfill their plans to expand they needed support from the 1993, Democratic Party’s Presidential hopeful, William Jefferson Clinton. They used their connections to Asian financial banking sources and the vast fortune of the Hawaii Democratic Party controlled Hawaiian Trusts like a carrot to lure the cash strapped Clinton. It resulted in Clinton’s appointment of Goldman-Sachs, co-director Robert Rubin as Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury. Goldman-Sachs was already involved with Hawaii banking deals that included former Secretary Treasurer, William Simon.
In his position as Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin was successful in changing two laws that had been part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for more than 60-plus years. The first of the laws, the Glass-Steagall Act was implemented after the stock market crash of 1929. Like many of the banking and finance related laws that were passed during this time, the Glass-Steagall Act was meant to protect the public against risk that might jeopardize their money relative to the sales of securities. The law, forbid banks from engaging in the securities business. The government’s newly created securities regulatory agency, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) wanted to deny any chance for banks to co-mingle the monies of depositors with the minimum cash required to raise capital through the sale of stocks and bonds. Don’t be surprised if one day, ads appear in your local papers offering high-yield Chinese government bonds (for dams, bridges, highways, airports, and weapons of mass destruction).
The second law that was changed by Rubin in 1997, was the Bank Holding Company Act. He argued that the laws were archaic and were instituted in a time that didn’t reflect the changes that the American banking industry faced in today’s competitive financial world. The modifications to the Bank Holding Company Act would allow America’s banks to broaden the definition of banking services that would be allowed by the government’s financial regulatory agencies.
Thus, Rubin was successful in opening the door for bank holding companies and their affiliates to engage in stock brokerage activities like underwriting and dealing, as well as, other diversified banking and finance related services [including insurance]. The changes that were made by Rubin, and the lessening of the standards by Ms. Tanoue, made it possible for 1st Hawaiian’s holding company, BancWest to enhance their revenue generating potential despite the old loan losses they absorbed to keep their political insiders out of jail after the Hawaii thrifts failed.
One wonders how you’ll be factored into the equation, after all, its only money ... your money.
This page posted on September 26, 2000
Last updated on October 01, 2004
Greater Things/Clinton Scandals/Riadi/First Hawaiian Bank Link
~ ~ ~
Google for more...
Buzzards Behind the Blinds
July 6, 2000
We may have no
Instead of a 2-step process in Congress, they may seek
political status and federal recognition in a single bill
By Pat Omandam, Star-Bulletin
A draft federal bill initially aimed at protecting federal programs for Hawaiians now includes a process that creates a native Hawaiian government.
The original idea was to first seek clarification of the political status of Hawaiians in the wake of the Rice vs. Cayetano decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this year, and then return to Congress in another session for federal recognition of Hawaiians.
The latest proposal, which Hawaii's congressional delegation is expected to introduce next week, heeds some Hawaiian leaders' and others' fears that there might not be another opportunity to complete the two-step approach supported by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Corbett Kalama, chairman of the Native Hawaiian community working group that provided key input for Akaka's bill, said changes that set up a Hawaiian governing body are positive. He said the group insisted language be included that proposes a government-to-government relationship because of such strong concern over whether there will be another chance.
Kalama, a First Hawaiian Bank senior vice president and American Bankers Association lobbyist, understands there is a great range of views on sovereignty and that there will be many chances to amend the measure once it is introduced.
"We view it not as an end, but as a beginning,"he said. "It's a very important step."
"We depend on Congress to do a lot of different things. With the recognition itself, it will be a step in a direction we want to move. Without the recognition, we'll have challenges. The community will have challenges moving on into the future," Kalama said.
As proposed, Hawaiians would have a year to come up with a list of adult Hawaiians who can trace their ancestry in Hawaii before 1893. Once the list is created, it would be certified by the U.S. Secretary of Interior before a general meeting is held by those on the list to elect people to a native Hawaiian interim council.
This council would work on a constitution and bylaws that, once ratified, would form a native Hawaiian governing body.
This reorganized Hawaiian government -- which would be incorporated and recognized by the federal government -- would have a strong say in the sale or lease of ceded lands, determine its own membership, and negotiate with federal, state and local governments.
"I'm very hopeful that a Hawaiian bill will get some serious consideration," said Rowena Akana, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and a member of Akaka's working groups.
Other changes to the draft from last May include changing the name of the proposed Office of Native Hawaiian Affairs to the Office of Special Trustee for Native Hawaiians. The office, which is envisioned as the coordination point within the federal government on native Hawaiian issues, will be housed in the Interior Department with a representative from the U.S. Justice Department.
The draft bill also changed the name of the proposed federal interagency council to the Native Hawaiian Interagency task force, which would mandate coordination of federal policy on Hawaiian issues.
Akaka spokesman Paul Cardus said he expects the draft bill to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week.
~ ~ ~
For more on the Akaka Bill...
June 1, 1998
THE START OF BANK MERGER MANIA?
Business Week Online, Edited by Douglas Harbrecht
The consolidation wave in banking and financial services has swept to the shores of Hawaii. In a move that could be just the first of a slew of buy-outs and mergers among Hawaii's banks, First Hawaiian Bank announced on May 29 a merger with French-owned Bank of the West.
In this deal, Hawaii's second-largest financial institution (assets of $8.15 billion) will merge with California's fifth-largest bank (assets of $5.8 billion). The new superregional financial institution will be called BancWest and will serve 800,000 customers through 218 branches in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California as well as in Guam and Saipan. First Hawaiian's Pacific One subsidiary operating in the Pacific Northwest will become part of Bank of the West.
The new company will be headed by CEO Walter A. Dods Jr., of First Hawaii. He says the merger will reduce the two banks' combined operating expenses by 9%, or $41 million, by the millennia. Some 400 positions are also expected to be eliminated through attrition, about 8% of the banks' total workforce. First Hawaiian branches will retain their names, and the company will retain a good amount of operational autonomy.
The deal involves a tax-free stock swap with more than $1 billion in First Hawaiian stock going to Bank of the West's parent company, Banque National of Paris (BNP), in exchange for a 45% stake in the new combined company. First Hawaiian shareholders will receive 55% ownership in BancWest as well as 11 of the 20 corporate board seats. The combined company will be based in Honolulu. As part of the deal, BNP agreed to a four-year standstill period during which it will not attempt to acquire a larger stake in the new company. BNP is the second-largest banking group in France, with assets of $300 billion.
The diversification of Hawaii's banks has become more urgent of late with the state's economy mired in an eight-year slump. Hawaii bank earnings have lagged far behind national benchmarks because of problem loans left over from Japan's real estate bubble and the double whammy of exposure in Asia. Tourism from Asia tourism has also dropped significantly.
Hawaii's banks are considered too small to compete in the global marketplace and are unable to maintain the levels of technology that will be required for 21st century banking. The struggling Hawaii economy, however, could slow merger mania in the short term.
Analysts have long predicted that Hawaii's large banks would need to diversify further outside of the state or risk being swallowed by larger regional or national banks. The state's largest bank, Pacific Century Corp. (parent company of Bank of Hawaii), also has extensive operations on the West Coast and around the Pacific Rim, but the bulk of its business remains in Hawaii.
So far, however, Hawaiian consumers have been loath to accept outside banks: Bank of America sold its Hawaii retail banking operations last year to locally based American Savings Bank after BofA failed to make significant headway in the Hawaiian market.
The market response to the merger was lukewarm, with First Hawaiian stock moving up only 1/8 in very heavy trading. The company's p-e ratio of 14 likewise reflects the market's general indifference to First Hawaiian in this era of white-hot bank stocks.
By Alex Salkever in Honolulu
November 9, 2005
Bank of New York Settles U.S. Inquiry Into Money Laundering
By Timothy L. O’Brien, New York Times
Federal prosecutors said yesterday that the Bank of New York agreed to pay $38 million in penalties and victim compensation in a deal stemming from a six-year investigation of fraud and money laundering involving suspect Russian and American bank accounts and other fraudulent transactions.
Prosecutors said the bank, one of the nation’s oldest, did not adequately monitor and report suspect accounts at the bank.
The bank agreed to make what prosecutors described as “sweeping internal reforms to ensure compliance with its antifraud and money laundering obligations.”
Authorities sad that the bank has “accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct” and that it will not be prosecuted as long as it complies with the terms of the deal for three years.
Bank of New York also agreed to allow an independent examiner to monitor its operations.
The investigation, which began in 1998 and ended last year, first became publicly known in the summer of 1999 when Russia’s pell-mell rush to privatize formerly state-owned assets resulted in widespread criticism of insider deals and possible corruption among Russia’s business elite and officials of the Kremlin.
The fine, which is among the largest ever assessed against an American bank for money laundering violations, consisted of $14 million for failing to supervise suspect Russian accounts and $24 million for a separate series of fraudulent activities involving a branch on Long Island.
Riggs Bank, a subsidiary of the Riggs National Corporation, paid $41 million in federal penalties this year and last to settle a high-profile investigation of money laundering problems at that institution.
Prosecutors withe the United States attorneys’ offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn noted that the money laundering scheme at the Bank of New York involved unlicensed transmissions of about $u billion that originated in Russia, passed through American accounts, and then moved into other accounts worldwide.
Authorities said that at least nine individuals, including a former Bank of New York vice president, had been convicted for their roles in the two cases.
The Bank of New York acknowledged in the settlement that it had failed to adequately police and intentionally failed to report suspect accounts at the bank. Moreover, according to the settlement, the bank’s general counsel, managing counsel, and other senior executives repeatedly ignored requirements to report illicit transactions until authorities began arresting suspects in its investigations.
The agreement also said that the Bank of New York subsequently provided incomplete reports about suspect activities and failed to report separate transactions that resulted in the defrauding of other banks - even though the Bank of New York had already reached an agreement with regulators to overhaul its troubled monitoring operations.
“We are satisfied that reaching this agreement is in the best interest of our company and all of our constituents,” the bank’s chief executive, Thomas A. Renyl, wrote in a statement. “We are taking the right steps in today’s environment to ensure sound business practices.”
Two Russian emigres - Lucy Edwards, a former vice president at the bank, and her husband, Peter Berlin - originally opened the suspect accounts at the bank in 1996. The couple pleaded guilty to fraud charges in early 2000, conceding that they helped two Moscow banks conduct illegal operations through Bank of New York accounts....
In 1999. the Bank of New York suspended Natasha Gurfinkle Kagalovsky, a senior executive who oversaw Ms. Edwards. Federal investigators were exploring Ms. Kagalovsky’s possible role in the money laundering scheme at the time and she subsequently resigned from the bank and moved to London. she has never been charged with wrongdoing in connection with the investigation....
Ms. Kagalovsky’s husband, Konstantin Kagalovsky, served in secure government and corporate posts in Russia. He once worked for two large companies, Menatep and Yukos, which the Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky formerly controlled. Mr. Khodorkovsky, once one of Russia’s most prominent and powerful figures, was convicted in Moscow in May on fraud and tax evasion charges in a highly disputed case pitting him against the Kremlin.
J. Michael Shepherd, who was general counsel at the Bank of New York during the money laundering investigation, left the bank last year to become general counsel of the BancWest Corporation.
He did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
For more, GO TO > > > Confessions of a Whistleblower; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate; Nests Along Wall Street
May 18, 2005
FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK ANNOUNCES ELECTION
OF HIAM, KURREN, MAILER AS DIRECTORS
First Hawaiian Bank today announced the election of three new members to its Board of Directors. They are:
Robert P. Hiam, President & Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA);
Faye Watanabe Kurren, President of Hawaii Dental Services; and
Dee Jay Mailer, Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools.
“First Hawaiian is fortunate that these three talented executives, all of whom have deep roots in Hawai‘i, have agreed to serve,” said First Hawaiian Chief Executive Officer Don Horner. “They add a wealth of experience to our Board.”
Hiam has been President and Chief Executive Officer of HMSA, Hawaii’s largest health care plan, since 1995. He has been with HMSA since 1970, previously serving as Chief Financial Officer and head of Government Programs and Data Processing.
Hiam attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He is Chairman of the Board of Aloha United Way, Pacific Health Research Institute and the HMSA Foundation and also serves on numerous boards of directors for the health care industry and on many nonprofit boards in the Islands.
Kurren was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii Dental Service, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, in 2003. Previously, she served as President of Tesoro Hawaii Corp. from 1998 to 2003, overseeing its refining, distribution and retail operations for the mid-Pacific region. Kurren originally joined Pacific Resources, Inc. (PRI) as legal counsel in 1984. PRI later became BHP Hawaii and then Tesoro.
A graduate of Punahou School, Kurren holds a law degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; a master’s from the University of Chicago; and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. She is the chair of the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women and serves on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards of directors.
Before becoming Kamehameha CEO last year, Mailer had a 27-year career in health care, including serving as Chief Executive Officer of Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i. She later served as Chief Administrative and Operating Officer of Health Net, Inc., a California health insurance program, and as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of The Global Fund, a Swiss foundation that supports health programs in developing countries.
Mailer, a graduate of Kamehameha, earned a degree in nursing and an MBA from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. She has been active in the Hawai`i Business Roundtable and in several nonprofit boards of directors.
About First Hawaiian Bank
First Hawaiian Bank ($10.8 billion assets) was founded in 1858 and is Hawaii's oldest and largest bank. It has 56 branches in Hawaii, three on Guam and two on Saipan.
November 17, 2004
House Probes U.N.-Saddam Scam
WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers are questioning whether a French bank failed to comply with U.S. money-laundering laws, possibly helping Saddam Hussein manipulate the $60 billion U.N. oil-for-food program. The bank denies any wrongdoing.
In the latest in a series of congressional investigations of alleged corruption in the oil-for-food program, the House International Relations Committee was homing in on the role of the U.S. branch of BNP-Paribas, which handled most of the oil-for-food money.
The humanitarian program, begun in 1996, allowed Iraq to trade oil for goods to help Iraqis get food, medicine and other necessities that became scarce under strict U.N. economic sanctions imposed after the Gulf War. It was credited with preventing widespread starvation.
Prior to today's hearing, congressional investigators said Saddam diverted money from the U.N. oil-for-food program to pay millions of dollars to families of Palestinian suicide bombers who carried out attacks on Israel.
Investigators who have been following a money trail say the former Iraqi president tapped secret bank accounts in Jordan — where he collected bribes from foreign companies and individuals doing illicit business under the humanitarian program — to reward the families up to $25,000 each.
Committee Chairman Henry Hyde said the panel found evidence that BNP in some cases improperly approved payments of oil-for-food funds to companies that weren't supposed to receive them. The bank may also have allowed payments to companies that were shipping to Iraq goods prohibited by international sanctions.
"There are indications that the bank may have been noncompliant in administering the oil-for-food program," Hyde said in remarks prepared for Wednesday's hearing. "If true, these possible banking lapses may have facilitated Saddam Hussein's manipulation and corruption of the program."
He said he was providing the committee's findings to the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees banking issues.
BNP officials say the bank's role in the program was limited and it had no control over how the money was spent. It acknowledges regulators had raised some issues on compliance with banking laws, but said none of these would have contributed to the oil-for-food abuses.
A series of investigations have found that Saddam, as Iraqi president, used oil smuggling, bribes and kickbacks to generate up to $21.3 billion or more in illegal revenue while under international sanctions from 1991-2003.
Though smuggling accounted for most of that money, the most sensational revelations have involved on the oil-for-food program, with allegations that Saddam and his aides bribed U.N. and foreign officials in an effort to break down the sanctions.
"We all knew that Saddam was doing everything in his power to evade sanctions," the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Tom Lantos said in prepared remarks. "But it is truly infuriating to discover the depth of the contempt and greed displayed by the governments of nations such as France, Russia and Syria who evidently jumped at the chance to participate in Saddam's crimes against the international community."
Hyde said the committee found evidence that Saddam used kickback revenues to make $25,000 payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers who carried out attacks on Israel.
Lawmakers have clashed with U.N. officials over what documents would be provided to congressional investigators. The United Nations has raised concerns that congressional investigations could interfere with an inquiry by a committee led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. That committee was appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April to investigate corruption allegations.
On Tuesday, Volcker told leaders of a Senate subcommittee investigating oil-for-food that the committee won't hand over documents until its own investigative reports are issued starting in January.
Volcker also said he opposed letting U.N. staff or contractors testify before Congress because it could risk their cooperation with his investigation. Volcker was responding to a letter from Sens. Norm Coleman and Carl Levin, respectively chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Coleman said in a statement Wednesday that Volcker assured him in a conversation Tuesday "that any efforts to thwart our investigation, or prevent my staff from interviewing witnesses, would come to an end."
Hyde warned that "if cooperation from those agencies and institutions involved in this program continues to be inadequate, then we will exercise such enforcement remedies as the law makes available to us. This inquiry is just beginning."
Investigators also said they had evidence BNP illegally allowed letters of credit, or payments for import deals, to be transferred to third parties.
BNP has denied the allegations.
For more, GO TO > > > It’s about the OIL, STUPID!
May 12, 2004
Update: U.N. Oil for Food Scandal
Continues to Grow
Center for Individual Freedom
Last week, the Center for Individual Freedom outlined the growing scandal surrounding the United Nations’ Oil for Food program. But in the last few days, even more information evidencing the breadth of the scandal and the possible extent of the cover-up has come to light.
On May 11, the Wall Street Journal uncovered a third "hush" letter from the office of U.N. Deputy Secretary General Benon Sevan. Recall that Sevan managed the Oil for Food program and has been implicated in the scandal. Though Sevan remains on vacation pending his retirement, the letter from his office is a clear warning to the recipient, an Oil for Food consultant, that the U.N. will take legal action should any information be disclosed to Congressional or other investigators outside of the U.N.
As the Journal points out, "The Secretary-General has the authority to waive all these confidentiality agreements. The fact that Kofi Annan has chosen instead to pursue a campaign of legal intimidation is a pretty good indication that he intends as much of a whitewash as he can get away with."
Also this week, the New York Post reported that the French bank BNP Paribas, which handled the bulk of the $111 billion worth of Oil for Food transactions, has hired attorney and Washington insider Bob Bennett who represented President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the Post, the bank is expecting subpoenas from any of the three Congressional committees now investigating the scandal-plagued program.
Rather than hiding behind gilded lawyers, BNP Paribas ought to provide all of its Oil for Food records to Congressional and other investigators post haste. There have been enough cover-ups. And Congress needs the complete facts, especially the bank’s records of Oil for Food transactions, if it’s going to make a useful independent assessment of the damage the corruption of this program has done to U.S. interests, the war on terrorism and the Iraqi people....
Most important, it’s time for Secretary-General Annan to direct the U.N. bureaucracy to stop stonewalling. If he’s unwilling to do so or unable to bend the bureaucracy to his will, he should resign.
The Oil for Food scandal is already undermining the U.N.’s ability to contribute usefully to the reconstruction of a liberated Iraq. Thanks to the scandal, Iraqi citizens are reported to be very skeptical of the U.N. — and rightfully so, as it is now clear that Oil for Food money which was supposed to be feeding them was instead employed for bribes and pay-offs with billions going to Saddam, himself, and other enemies of peace, possibly even including Al Qaeda.
In order to preserve any notion that the U.N. can play a roll in achieving peace and democracy in Iraq, it must come clean about Oil for Food — right now.
April 28, 2005 < < < (Note the date!)
The money trail, French bank, BNP Paribas
This is the way to do it.
Next up in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal is a trip down the money trail, by way of the French bank tapped by the United Nations - in cahoots with Saddam Hussein - to handle the main escrow account of the graft-laden U.N. program.
BNP was picked in 1996 for the role of chief oil-for-food banker by the former U.N. secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The U.N. inquiry into oil for food led by Mr. Volcker has reported that in choosing BNP, Mr. Boutros-Ghali bypassed U.N. procedure for competitive bidding.
Mr. Boutros-Ghali has also been described in a recent Associated Press dispatch as "the subject of speculation" regarding likely targets of the federal bribery investigation.
The AP further described him as "good friends" with the accused bagman for Saddam, South Korean Tongsun Park.
For more, GO TO > > > It’s the OIL, STUPID!
May 18, 2005 < < < (Note the date!)
First Hawaiian names 3 directors
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Hawaii's largest bank today named executives of two of Hawaii's largest insurance firms and the state's largest private land trust to its board of directors.
Newly elected to the board of First Hawaiian Bank are Robert P. Hiam, president and chief executive of Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest health insurer; Faye Watanabe Kurren, president of Hawaii Dental Services, the state's largest dental insurer; and Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive of Kamehameha Schools, the state's largest private landowner.
"First Hawaiian is fortunate that these three talented executives, all of whom have deep roots in Hawaii, have agreed to serve," said Don Horner, First Hawaiian's chief executive. "They add a wealth of experience to our Board."
Hiam has held the top post at HMSA since 1995 and has been with the firm since 1970, previously serving as chief financial officer. He attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is chairman of the board of Aloha United Way, Pacific Health Research Institute and the HMSA Foundation.
Kurren has been president and chief executive of Hawaii Dental Service since 2003. Previously, she was president of Tesoro Hawaii Corp. from 1998 to 2003, overseeing its refining, distribution and retail operations for the mid-Pacific region. Kurren originally joined Pacific Resources Inc. as legal counsel in 1984. PRI later became BHP Hawaii and then Tesoro.
A graduate of Punahou School, Kurren holds a law degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, a master's degree from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor's degree from Stanford University. She is the chair of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.
Before becoming Kamehameha CEO last year, Mailer had a 27-year career in health care, including serving as chief executive of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. She later worked as chief administrative and operating officer of Health Net Inc., a California health insurance program, and as chief operating officer and executive director of The Global Fund, a Swiss foundation that supports health programs in developing countries.
A graduate of Kamehameha, Mailer earned a degree in nursing and an MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has been active in the Hawaii Business Roundtable and in several nonprofit boards of directors.
Hawaii's oldest and largest bank, First Hawaiian has $10.8 billion in assets. It is a subsidiary of BancWest Corp., which is a subsidiary of the French banking giant BNP Paribas.
March 12, 2000
Bishop Estate’s first trustees played key role in overthrow
Editorial by Bob Dye, Honolulu Advertiser
They were American annexationists, these first five trustees of the estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop.
Within three years of their appointment, they helped strip King Kalakaua of his power. When, upon his death in 1891, Pauahi’s hanai sister Lili‘uokalani succeeded to the throne, they joined with others to depose her, establish a provisional government and a so-called republic.
The annexationists realized their ultimate political goal four years later when the Hawaiian Islands became a U.S. territory. Their political agenda had a profound effect on Bishop Estate and the Kamehameha Schools.
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the last of the Kamehameha dynastic line. Upon Pauahi’s death, in the 11th year of Kalakaua’s reign, the royal lands of the Kamehamehas — one-ninth of all land in Hawaii — passed to the control of five esteemed haoles — the trustees. None had a drop of Hawaiian blood.
Those lands became a base of wealth for two great estates — those of Bishop and Damon.
The trustees were:
Charles Reed Bishop, president, founder of Bishop Bank (now First Hawaiian) and Pauahi’s husband. Born in Glenn Falls, N.Y., in 1822, he came to Hawaii in 1846 and accepted a clerkship in the U.S. Consulate. He became the Collector General of Customs in 1849, and a year later, he married the princess. She was 16 and he was 26. Her missionary teachers at the Royal School — Amos Starr and Juliette Montague Cooke — encouraged the courtship.
“I’m decidedly in favor of annexation, not only because I’m an American, proud of the ‘stars and stripes’ and expect to gain something by such a move, but because I’m an Hawaiian too, and believe that while such a change might bring its evils, it would be the best thing for the great majority of the population both native and foreign,” he wrote in 1853.
In 1873, as Lunalilo’s minister of foreign affairs, he urged the cession of Pearl Harbor to the United States for a naval base. In addition to being a trustee of the Punahou School, he headed the public board of education. He served as president of the Legislative Assembly, and was a member of the House of Nobles.
The Rev. Charles McEwen Hyde, vice-president. Hyde was born in New York City on June 8, 1832. His father, an attorney, was treasurer and general agent of the American Bible Society, and his uncle William was a board member of American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions.
A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and the holder of a doctor of divinity degree from Williams College, Hyde came to Hawaii in 1877 to be secretary of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association. He reorganized a Honolulu theological school as the North Pacific Missionary Institute, and served as principal. He was named a trustee of Punahou School in 1877.
Supporters called Hyde a “typical American, combining all the energy and persistency of the New Englander with the refinement and culture of the Christian Gentleman.”
Charles Montague Cooke, secretary. A son of missionary parents and teachers of Princess Pauahi, Amos Starr and Juliette Montague Cooke, he was born in Honolulu on May 16,1849.
He began his business career with Castle & Cooke, a firm founded by his father.
At the time of his appointment, he was a partner in Lewers & Cooke. He married missionary daughter Anna Charlotte Rice in 1874. They had six children. He became a trustee of Punahou School in 1880. He was a charter member of the Hawaii Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Samuel Mills Damon, treasurer of the board. A son of missionary parents, the Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon and Julia Mills Damon, he was born in Honolulu on March 3, 1845. A partner of Charles Reed Bishop in the Bishop Bank after Sept. 1, 1881, he inherited from Bernice Pauahi Bishop the ahupua‘a of Moanalua. That bequest contained about 7,000 acres, and stretched from the Koolau Range to Keehi Lagoon. He coordinated her funeral.
Earlier he had coordinated the funeral of Princess Ruth. He married missionary daughter Harriet Melinda Baldwin. Her brother, Henry P. Baldwin, was a founder of Alexander & Baldwin. At the time of appointment Damon was a member of Kalakaua’s privy council. With Charles R. Bishop, he was an executor of Princess Pauahi’s will.
William Owen Smith, trustee. A son of missionary parents, Dr. James William and Melicent Knapp Smith, he was born at Koloa, Kauai, in 1848. He became the sheriff of Kauai in 1870, and of Maui in 1872. In 1875, he was admitted to the practice of law. The following year he married Irish-born Abbey Hobron, the daughter of Capt. T.H. Hobron, founder of the 3,000 acre Grove Ranch on Maui. They had five children. He was named a trustee of Punahou School and an editor of Planters’ Monthly in 1882.
When appointed to the Bishop Estate board, he was a trustee of Lunalilo Estate. A member of the Hawaiian legislature, he was politically allied with Sanford Ballard Dole, a childhood friend. Smith, who had extensive trust experience, resigned as trustee on Oct. 20, 1886, and was replaced a day later by Joseph Oliver Carter, another trust expert.
The trustees met at least once a month in the board room of Bishop & Co., but usually more often than that. Hyde’s biographer reported that trustee commissions “hovered”‘ about $1,000 a year during the first years.
But apparently individual commissions varied. Cooke returned every penny he received from his trusteeship in the first five years — a total of $989.79 — and pledged all future commissions to establish a library at the school.
The Rev. Hyde recommended a site for the Boys’ School, and enunciated “the objective, aims, method, time, and extent of the school.” Called The Prospectus of the Kamehameha Schools, the report was unanimously adopted. After Princess Pauahi’s will called for the establishment of a school to educate Hawaiian children, the document became the principal guideline for the development and management of the schools.
Hyde became the “lead trustee” for the schools and advocated appointing the Rev. William Brewster Oleson as principal. Oleson began his duties on July 1, 1886, and soon traveled to the United States to visit similar schools and recruit faculty.
Planning an overthrow
Calling King Kalakaua “a bully and a coward,” Hyde advocated his overthrow. He wrote to the Rev. Judson Smith, head of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, on Nov. 20, 1886: “I have learned facts about the King’s measures and objects, which convince me that with the cunning of the savage and the tirelessness of revengeful animosity, he is seeking the overthrow of Christian institutions and the utter demoralization of society. His aim is to restore heathenism with its absolute power of the chief and licentious orgies of wasteful indulgence ... we should have a revolution.”
A Jan. 13, 1887, correspondence from Hyde to Smith states: “By the Constitution, he is not responsible to anybody for anything he chooses to do. He can steal, murder, defraud. He cannot be called to account. But if twelve of the leading men of this community should agree upon a line of policy that they believe the King ought to pursue, and publicly demands, he would have to succumb. That is my idea in reply to your question what means there are of checking this irresistible rush to disgrace and ruin.
“But there are no such twelve men to be found in this community … But if circumstances should put me in a position in which I should have to defend the interests of Christ’s Kingdom, as against the King, I should have neither fear nor hesitancy in doing so.”
Months earlier, the king had confided to an aide that he feared he might be overthrown. Members of his staff spent the night guarding him for several weeks after as he slept in the palace.
It was confirmed later that a secret organization, called the Hawaiian League, had been formed about the first of the year, consisting of some of the most powerful businessmen and their pastors. All were white, male and mostly Protestant.
Hyde refused to join the Hawaiian League, “objecting to the secret, underhand plottings involved in such a style of procedure.” But his co-trustee Cooke was among the first to sign up. Kamehameha School principal Oleson was on its executive committee and vice principal Henry S. Townsend, was a member.
Members pledged to keep the League secret and to “protect the white community” of the kingdom “against any arbitrary or oppressive action of the government.”
The League held its first meeting at the home of Sanford B. Dole. By June 30, 1887, it had 405 members. Meetings usually took place in the evening, and in different parts of the city, to frustrate police efforts to gather information on them.
The revolution was bloodless.
Kalakaua was stripped of power and the government fell into the hands of the Hawaiian League. On July 5, 1887, the Honolulu Rifles were ordered out in full uniform. Their cartridge belts were full. Charles Bishop’s nephew, Eben Faxon Bishop, was one of the officers as a first lieutenant of Company B. In addition, League members armed themselves.
At the palace a New York Herald correspondent asked King Kalakaua:
“What means have you of self-defense?”
“I have my bodyguard of sixty men, who are passably well armed and drilled,” he replied, “an Austrian battery of six field pieces, two brass cannon with sweeping fire, good bolts to outside doors and good hearts within. Then, too, there are two companies of native volunteers called the Queen’s and King’s Own, composed mainly of old retainers.”
“But outside, as I understand it, there are three hundred men, over a thousand rifles and ammunition enough for a siege.”
“Yes,” replied the king, nervously wetting his lips, “but they have not got in yet.”
Hyde told a different story. He wrote that Kalakaua had “ordered his military to assemble at the palace Friday night, but only 20 assembled out of 200. When he asked them how many would fight for him, only 2 said they would.”
Hyde also wrote: “The backbone of the whole movement is the money furnished by some of our capitalists, while the brains came largely from the ‘missionary ring’ and the muscle from the sturdy mechanics, carpenters, and masons and machinists who have no great regard for royalty but do believe in right and justice.”
A man credited with financing the revolution was Trustee Damon, the banker. In July 1889, the “reform” cabinet named him minister of finance. Kalakaua died in 1893 and was succeeded by Queen Lili‘uokalani.
- Bob Dye is a Kailua historian and writer.
~ ~ ~
Some more interesting sightings of the BNP flock...
# # #
Google for more...
Buzzards Behind the Blinds at First Hawaiian Bank
IRAQ BODY COUNT
National Priorities Project - Cost of War
A Timeline of Oil and Violence in Iraq
THE EAGLE HOODED: THE 9-11 COVERUP
PART I - PART II - PART III
For more on the foreign financial wars on American soil...
AIG: The Un-American Group
Tracking the AIPAC Flock
Alexander & Baldwin
Allied World Assurance
Aloha, Harken Energy!
American Savings Bank: Behind the Blinds
APCOA: Vultures in the Parking Lot
The Carlyle Group
A Connecticut Yankee in King Kamehameha’s Court
The Blackstone Group
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Broken Trust: The Book
Buzzards in the Bank of Hawaii
Buzzards of Paradise
The Chubb Group
Citigroup: Vampires in the City
Claims By Harmon
Confessions of a Whistleblower
David C. Farmer, Office of the U.S. Trustee vs. Harmon
DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE
Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VII
Flying High In Hawaii
The Freedom To Sing
The Grand (and dirty) Ko Olina
Halliburton from Hell
The Harmon Arbitration
I Sing The Hawaiian Electric
It’s about the Oil, Stupid!
Kajima: Blood, Bribes & Brutality
The Kamehameha Schools Retirement Plan
Marsh & McLennan: The Marsh Birds
Marsh & McLennan’s Mercer Consulting
Marsh & McLennan’s Putnam Investments
Predators of Paradise
The Puna Connection
Pointing the Finger at WorldPoint
RICO in Paradise
Snakes in Paradise: The Carlyle Group
The Harmon Arbitration
The Eagle Awakes
The Eagle Hooded
The Great Nest Egg Robberies
The Indonesian Connection
The Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Report
The Rise and Fall of Summit Communications
The Sinking of the Ehime Maru
Vampires on Gilligan’s Island
Vultures in the Merger Markets
Vultures of the Sandwich Isles
Yakuza Doodle Dandies
~ o ~
MORE OF THE CATBIRD’S FAVORITE LINKS
THE CATBIRD SEAT FORUM
THE CATBIRD SEAT
~ o ~
FAIR USE NOTICE. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
* * * * *
August 19, 2006: Originally posted on www.the-catbird-seat.net
March 13, 2007: Judge David Ezra signs Order to shut down website
April 22, 2010: Latest update on www.kycbs.net
THE CATBIRD SEAT ARCHIVES
The Catbird Seat Archives: 2000-2002
The Catbird Seat Archives: 2002-2007
* * * * *