Who's behind Lanny Davis' putsch paycheck?

Following the money trail in the Honduran coup

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Going to bat for an illegal coup used to be the job of shadowy CIA operatives back in the good ol' days of the Cold War.

But that is bygone era. Today’s junta-enablers no longer have to work in secret. In fact, illegal usurpers can now shop openly in Washington for a hired gun of their choosing to grease the wheels of Congress and commerce to assure their coup d'état remains a fait accompli.

Enter Lanny Davis — a long-time friend and Yale Law School chum of Hillary Clinton and former White House Counsel to Bill Clinton [as well as a consummate shill for their agendas].

Davis also is a lawyer and lobbyist now employed by the D.C. office of global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. In that capacity, Davis was recently retained by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL) to hawk for the coup in Honduras — or as is the preferred description among the pushers of simulation, the administration of “de facto” Honduran President Roberto Micheletti [elected by virtue of having cast the most bullets in deposing the people’s choice in Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya).

Davis is now scampering about the Hill setting up meetings with Congressional insiders and throwing money around on advertising and other such frills to build a case for supporting the new militarily elected Honduran regime.

Davis may be many things, but one thing he is not is cheap. So the question is begged: Whose paying for this charade?

The best way to get a peek under those covers most certainly should be to take a look at who is in bed with CEAL, Davis’ current contract employer.

Well, here’s the scoop on the pecuniary bedfellows:

Camilo Alejandro Atala Faraj, president of the Honduras chapter of CEAL, also happens to be a vice president of a major banking institution in Honduras, Banco Financiera Comercial Hondurena S.A [or Banco Ficohsa), which is part of the financial holding company Grupo Financiero Ficohsa.

The president of the lender is an individual named Jorge Alejandro Faraj Rishmagui, and at least three other bank managers have last names indicating they are likely related to the Faraj clan.

Current information on the bank is a bit hard to come by, at least in English, but it seems the lender did make a filing with the U.S. Federal Reserve System in 2005, that states, in part, the following:

Order Approving Establishment of a Representative Office

Banco Financiera Comercial Hondurena, S.A. (“Bank”), Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a foreign bank within the meaning of the International Banking Act (“IBA”), has applied under section 10(a) of the IBA (12 U.S.C. § 3107(a)) to establish a representative office in Mi ami, Florida. The Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 1991, which amended the IBA, provides that a foreign bank must obtain the approval of the Board to establish a representative office in the United States.

The Bank, with total consolidated assets of approximately $612 million, is the fourth largest commercial bank in Honduras and provides wholesale and retail banking services through a network of domestic branches.

In the United States, [the] Bank has licenses to operate nonbank subsidiaries in Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia that engage in money remittance services.

So, it seems Banco Ficohsa has both Honduran and U.S. interests to protect in throwing its lot in with the new usurper regime.

And interestingly, one of the criticisms of the Zelaya government is that it has not been sufficiently pro-business — tending toward friendly relations with that pesky populist Hugo Chavez.

The Honduran banking community is not all that large, at least by U.S. standards, with only a couple dozen banks operating in the country — and only a small slate of foreign-owned banks, one of which happens to be Citigroup. That famous brand name bank, of course, was once home to Robert Rubin, who served as its director, executive committee chair and briefly as chairman — after a stint as Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and before that as a suit at Goldman Sachs.

Citigroup, under its subsidiary Citibank Overseas Investment Corp., operates Banco Citibank de Honduras S.A. Now, given the cozy size of Honduras’ banking industry, it’s likely Citigroup and Banco Ficohsa officials have shared some wine and cheese over discussions of global politics and free trade, but there is no indication at this point that any Citigroup money is in the pot to pay Davis’ lobbying expenses on behalf of CEAL.

Another player in CEAl, listed as the vice president of the Honduran Chapter, is Jesus Canahuati, who is an executive vice president with a Honduran company called Elasticos Centroamericanos y Textiles, which is part of a Honduran conglomerate called Grupo Lovable.

Founded by an entrepreneur named Juan Canahuati in the 1960s, Grupo Lovable now ranks as one of Honduras’ largest employers and has operations in textiles, water and sewage treatment, industrial parks and even an electric plant. Canahuati is credited as being one of the nation’s visionaries in pushing for free-trade and opening up Honduras to U.S. investment.

And yet another player in CEAL, listed as its “coordinator,” is an individual named Miguel Mauricio Facusse Saenz, who lists his corporate affiliation as being with Corporación Dinant S.A., which is a subsidiary of another Honduran mega-business called the Grupo Dinant Cos. — which produces snacks, agricultural products and food products.

Just this past June, the Inter-American Investment Corp. (IIC) provided Grupo Dinant with a loan package worth up to $7 million. The IIC is part of the Inter-American Development Bank, which is based in Washington, D.C., and is charged with fostering economic and social development in Latin America. Luis Alberto Moreno, a Colombian diplomat, currently heads the bank.

But it appears the IIC isn’t the only entity that has lent Grupo Dinant money. A short news item carried by Summa News indicates that a syndicate of banks, including Banco Financiera Comercial Hondurena, last spring provided Grupo Dinant subsidiary Corporación Dinant with a $77 million loan.

So, it seems the business interests behind CEAL are flush with cash, enough of it anyway to line Davis’ pockets for the foreseeable future as he seeks to legitimize the bloody Honduran coup in the eyes of Congress and, apparently, for the benefit of commerce.


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