Just before an Iranian-American businessman was freed from jail in Iran in Oct. 2010, his son met with Bill Clinton and also made the first of what would become more than $1 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Nima Taghavi, who owns businesses in California, grew impatient in 2010 with negotiations to secure his father Reza’s release from an Iranian prison, and so he turned to the former president for help.
To arrange the meeting with Clinton, Taghavi first contacted Doug Band, who worked as Clinton’s “body man,” has counseled the Clinton Foundation, and co-founded Teneo Holdings, a consulting group that Clinton advised.
Taghavi met with the former president in hopes that he would serve as special envoy to Iran, sources told TheDC. And through his personal charity, the Nima Taghavi Foundation, the businessman gave a $5,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2010. He would go on to give more than $1 million over the next several years.
The timing of the meeting and the first round of donations raises two questions: whether Clinton promised to help Taghavi in exchange for contributions to his family’s organization and whether he violated an agreement not to personally solicit funds for his charity.
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As part of the deal to bring Hillary Clinton on board as secretary of state, the Clintons signed a memorandum of understanding in Dec. 2008 agreeing to the stipulation that Bill Clinton not raise money.
It is unclear if Hillary Clinton knew of her husband’s meeting with Taghavi. In an email informing Clinton that an unnamed Iranian-American businessman had been released from an Iran jail Clinton asked her aide Huma Abedin who the prisoner was. Abedin informed her it was Reza Taghavi.
In an email with the subject “Why Taghavi was released,” a State Department official wrote “I understand [Clinton] is asking.”
The theory of a Clinton-related quid pro quo — whether Hillary Clinton knew about it or not — is not unfounded, as it fits a pattern of the former first couple providing favors and access to donors to their charity and to their various political campaigns.
Read more: Daily Caller