Major Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury and the U.S. government have struck a deal to settle a lawsuit over leaks that suggested the Nigerian-born businessman was fundraising for a U.S.-identified terrorist organization.
Press reports during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said Chagoury, a billionaire who lives in Lebanon, was denied a visa in 2015 due to those allegations.
Last September, Chagoury filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies for damaging his reputation and denying his Constitutional rights. Chagoury had visited the U.S. throughout the past 35 years, he said.
Under the settlement, Chagoury is essentially dropping the lawsuit, but he managed to extract a confirmation from the government that he’s never been on a U.S. sanctions list and that financial institutions are free to do business with him.
“As I have often said, I have loved America my whole life because it was the land of freedom and justice,” Chagoury said in a press release. “I am pleased that the U.S. Government has officially recognized that I am not and have never been on the SDN list, and that this matter that began due to someone spreading false and injurious information about me is finally closed.”
In the settlement, the U.S. government also recognized that the anonymous leaks possibly violated both internal policies and federal law.
"Unauthorized government disclosures, including of personally identifying information, may violate internal agency policies, as well as federal law under certain circumstances. Such disclosures may be subject to different types of punishment or disciplinary actions depending on the nature of the violation," the settlement declares.
In the deal, the Justice Department did not concede that any U.S. official broke the law.
Still, Chagoury said he hopes the agreement will ameliorate some of the damages that the allegations caused his reputation and business ventures.
The settlement was filed with the court Friday and approved Sunday by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. Each side will bear its own legal fees, the pact says.
The suit initially looked to have the potential to be precedent setting because it sought recourse under the Judicial Redress Act, a 2016 law protecting the privacy rights of foreigners. However, Chagoury later dropped that element of the case.