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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Haley Barbour's Lobby Shop Had Ties To Iranian Nuclear Efforts

Haley Barbour, a powerful and influential Republican who considered running for the presidency, is a former two term Mississippi governor who now lobbies for a living.
GOP power broker Haley Barbour's lobby shop, BGR Group, represents a Russian bank that has financed a company that helped build Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, according to corporate documents and lobbying disclosure records. The bank is owned by a secretive oligarch, Mikhail Fridman, who has met at least twice with White House officials in the last few years, according to visitor logs. Barbour, one of the most influential Republicans within the party, considered a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination and has been speculated about as a possible vice-presidential pick. Last year, he called Iran "the number one threat to peace and stability." It's a measure of how much political saber-rattling in Washington is tempered by the lure of lobbying dollars that his firm represents a bank that has apparently helped fund Iran's nuclear aspirations. Fridman's Alfa Bank is the largest private bank in Russia and has helped make its owner one of the richest men in the world. The London Sunday Times has called Fridman's company Alfa Group, which owns Alfa Bank, "one of the most controversial business empires on the planet." Alfa Bank has been a client of BGR Group since 2002, according to lobbying disclosure records. Barbour was elected governor of Mississippi in November 2003, left the firm, and took office in January 2004. After two gubernatorial terms, he returned to his Washington lobby shop this year. During his time as governor, Barbour continued to receive payments related to his past BGR Group activities through a blind trust -- payments of at least $300,000 per year, according to the trust agreement.
Read the rest here
The Huffington Post