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Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Consortiumnews.com

: "By Robert Parry
June 14, 2006

Over the past quarter century, South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon has been one of the Bush family’s major benefactors – both politically and financially – while enjoying what appears to be protection against federal investigations into evidence that his cult-like organization has functioned as a criminal enterprise.

Indeed, the newest disclosure about Moon funneling money to a Bush family entity bears many of the earmarks of Moon’s business strategy of laundering money through a complex maze of front companies and cut-outs so it can’t be easily followed. In this case, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle, Moon’s Washington Times Foundation gave $1 million to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which in turn acted as a conduit for donations to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

The Chronicle obtained indirect confirmation that Moon’s money was passing through the Houston foundation to the Bush library from Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath. Asked whether Moon’s $1 million had ended up there, McGrath responded, “We’re in an uncomfortable position. … If a donor doesn’t want to be identified we need to honor their privacy.”

But when asked whether the $1 million was intended to curry favor with the Bush family to get President George W. Bush to grant a pardon for Moon’s 1982 felony tax fraud conviction, McGrath answered, “If that’s why he gave the grant, he’s throwing his money away. … That’s not the way the Bushes operate.”

McGrath then added, “President Bush has been very grateful for the friendship shown to him by the Washington Times Foundation, and the Washington Times serves a vital role in Washington. But there can’t be any connection to any kind of a pardon.” [Houston Chronicle, June 8, 2006, citing the work of private researcher Larry Zilliox.]

But Moon has many other interests beyond clearing his criminal record with a presidential pardon.

While it’s true Moon has sought a pardon since the latter years of Ronald Reagan’s administration, Moon also has counted on powerful political connections to shield his business activities from renewed federal investigation that otherwise might have pried into criminal offenses ranging from money laundering to evading the U.S. embargo on the rogue state of North Korea.

Moon has achieved this remarkable insulation for his operations largely by spreading around hundreds of millions of dollars for political activities, charitable functions and the publication of one of Washington’s daily newspapers, the Washington Times.

The founder of the South Korean-based Unification Church has made himself particularly useful to the Bush family and other prominent Republicans who have returned the favor by speaking at his events, lavishing praise on his business on his business operations and granting him Capitol Hill space for some of his ceremonies."---------------
read the rest......

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