Blagojevich trial, Rezko, Nadhmi Auchi, Rezko bankruptcy trustees
Tony Rezko is the gift that keeps on giving. Hopefully this will continue throughout the Blagojevich trial.
From the Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2010.
“Firm asked to return funds from Rezko”
“Freeborn & Peters has been asked to return about $1.7 million in legal fees it collected from Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the convicted political fundraiser.
The trustee for Rezko’s bankruptcy estate sued the Chicago law firm in March to recover the fees. The firm has yet to file a response to the complaint, asking a judge last week for a second extension until May 21.
“Given the amount at stake, (Freeborn & Peters) would like additional time to investigate its defenses and prepare an appropriate response to the complaint,” Robert Fishman, one of the firm’s lawyers, wrote in the request for more time.
The firm declined further comment because it does not discuss client matters with the media, said Randall Vickery, its managing partner for client relations. The firm represented Rezko in several business matters before his conviction, but it couldn’t be determined whether Rezko remains a client.
The suit was filed about 18 months after Gregg Szilagyi was appointed bankruptcy trustee to liquidate Rezko’s assets. His work has been complicated by the fact that Rezko is in federal custody after being convicted in June 2008 of fraud and money laundering as part of a corruption probe into then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Rezko was a Blagojevich adviser and a major fundraiser.
While Rezko was on trial, a creditor who claims he was owed $18 million forced him into bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carol Doyle later rejected Rezko’s motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case.
One of the first things Szilagyi did was investigate a $3.5 million wire transfer Rezko allegedly received after he was indicted in October 2006. The funds came from General Mediterranean Holding SA, a company controlled by Nadhmi Auchi of London, an Iraqi-born billionaire who has controlled banks, casinos, telecommunications companies and pharmaceutical firms across the globe.
Auchi bought about 15 Wisconsin pizzerias from Rezko, court records show, and took a stake in Rezko’s most ambitious real estate venture: his effort to develop a 62-acre site at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street.
That payment got Rezko’s bail revoked and landed him in jail in January 2008, just before his trial started, after he repeatedly told a federal judge that he had no access to overseas funds.
Szilagyi alleges Rezko directed one of his attorneys to transfer $1 million of the $3.5 million to Freeborn & Peters in early February 2008. The complaint also alleges Rezko sent a letter to Michael Kelly, a Freeborn partner, telling him to apply the $1 million to his outstanding legal fees.”
You remember Nadhmi Auchi.
- Iraqi-born billionaire who was charged along with Saddam Hussein for conspiring to assassinate Prime minister (president) Abdul Karim Qasim and stood trial in 1959.
- Protected secret money for Saddam Hussein AND Muammar al-Gaddafi.
- Financially backed Saddam Hussein’s plan for a pipeline from Iraq to Saudi Arabia.
- Moved to England after being expelled from France.
- Rezko described his friendship with Auchi as “close”.
- Attended a party in 2004 with Barack and Michelle Obama present.