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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Democratic donor skips court date
Norman Hsu
Norman Hsu: Important donor to the Democratic Party since 2004
A US judge has issued an arrest warrant for a major Democratic Party donor after he failed to attend a bail hearing on Wednesday in California.

Hong Kong-born businessman Norman Hsu turned himself in to the authorities last week after disappearing 15 years ago awaiting sentencing for fraud.

Mr Hsu contributed widely to Democratic Party groups and candidates, and was a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.

Mrs Clinton and other recipients said they would give the money to charity.

Mr Hsu was due in court in Redwood City near San Francisco on Wednesday to request that his $2m bail, posted last week when he turned himself in, be halved.

"Mr Hsu is not here and we do not know where Mr Hsu is," his lawyer Jim Brosnahan said.

Judge Robert Foiles ordered that Mr Hsu's bail be revoked and issued a warrant for his arrest.

'Hillraiser'

It was the latest twist in a story that began in 1991 when Mr Hsu admitted that he had defrauded investors of $1m and pleaded no contest to a felony count of grand theft.

He was facing three years in prison when he disappeared before a sentencing hearing in 1992. He is believed to have returned to his native Hong Kong.

A few years later, he reappeared in New York, working in the clothing business, and began to donate to Democratic causes and candidates.

Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign had listed Mr Hsu as a "Hillraiser" - a top donor.

The Clinton campaign on Wednesday appealed to Mr Hsu to turn himself in and said the $23,000 he had given to Mrs Clinton's various fund-raising campaigns was being donated to charity.

Mr Hsu also donated $2,000 to the 2004 Senate campaign and $5,000 to the political action committee of Barack Obama, another Democratic presidential contender.

Mr Obama, as well as other candidates and Democratic groups, have also announced that Mr Hsu's donations will be given to charities.

Last week, Mr Hsu said he believed that the charges against him had been resolved when he completed bankruptcy proceedings in the early 1990s and was surprised to learn that there appeared to be an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

"I have not sought to evade any of my obligations and certainly not the law," he said in a statement.





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