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Saturday, 10 February, 2001, 18:06 GMT
Rich's '$450,000' for Clinton library
From left, Jack Quinn, lawyer for Marc Rich, who was pardoned by President Clinton, and two former assistant US attorneys at house hearing
Testimony at the House committee hearing
The former wife of the fugitive financier controversially pardoned by President Clinton on his last day in office had donated $450,000 to his presidential library fund, according to reports in Washington.

Citing "sources familiar with the contribution", the Washington Post said Denise Rich made three donations from July 1998 to May 2000, before she became active late last year in the successful lobbying campaign for Marc Rich.

The pardon freed one of the world's richest men from prosecution on more than 50 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, income tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran.

Her lawyer had told a house committee probing the pardon that Denise Rich donated an "enormous sum of money" to the fund.

Any demand for a list of our donors would be flagrantly violative of the First Amendment and we would resist it

David Kendall
Clinton foundation attorney
Reports of the donations have ranged from $400,000 to $1 million.

The committee will issue subpoenas next week for donor lists for Mr Clinton's presidential library fund and for Denise Rich's bank records, a panel spokesman said on Friday.

The panel is seeking immunity from prosecution for Denise Rich in return for her testimony.

Refused questions

Ms Rich, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party in recent years, refused to answer 14 written questions submitted to her by the committee, claiming her constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Marc Rich
Marc Rich fled to Switzerland
Clinton foundation attorney David Kendall said he would fight a subpoena for the library donor list.

"Any demand for a list of our donors would be flagrantly violative of the First Amendment and we would resist it," Mr Kendall told the Wahington Post.

The foundation hopes to raise $200 million to finance the construction of Mr Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Following the money

Republicans at Thursday's hearing called the pardon "sleazy" and questioned the influence of Denise Rich's donations on Mr Clinton's decision.

They also noted that Ms Rich was a major contributor to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign.

The bank records, while helping determine the amount of the library donations, could also help investigators determine whether any of the funds originated with Marc Rich.

Marc Rich, who fled to exile in Switzerland 17 years ago, was pardoned on 20 January, the day Mr Clinton left office.

Mr Clinton insisted on Tuesday that Mr Rich deserved the pardon. saying: "Once the facts are out there, people will understand what I did and why, even if they may not agree with it."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Mr Clinton's pardons next Wednesday.

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See also:

03 Feb 01 | Americas
Clintons try to defuse gifts furore
26 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton gifts under scrutiny
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton pardons 100
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