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JEFFREY ST. CLAIR – ALEXANDER COCKBURN – Clintons, Contras and Cocaine

The political rise of the Clintons has been monetarily fueled by a man linked to one of the biggest banking scandals in the nation’s history. Arkansas financier and political king-maker Jackson Stephens, with his son Warren, helped raise more than $100,000 for Clinton. More important, Stephens’ Worthen National Bank extended Bill Clinton a $2 million line of credit in January 1992, when the campaign was reeling under multiple allegations of adultery.

It was Jackson Stephens who brokered the arrival of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)–the bank later identified as an institution of preference for global criminals and drug peddlers–into this country in 1977. He steered the bank’s founder, Hassan Abedi, toward Jimmy Carter’s budget director, Bert Lance, whose bank an Abedi front man took over. Stephens then helped clear the ground, according to SEC documents, for Abedi’s secret takeover of First American Bankshares. In the wake of BCCI’s downfall, these institutions are gravely weakened; other U.S. banks secretly taken over by BCCI–including CenTrust, the biggest S&L in Florida, and Independence Bank of Encino–collapsed, leaving taxpayers holding the multi-billion dollar bag.

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