Republican Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida Message Board › Bet you did not know.... › Bet you did not know....Bin Laden Family Liquidates Holdings With Carlyle Group
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New York Times
Bin Laden Family Liquidates Holdings With Carlyle Group
By KURT EICHENWALD
Published: Friday, October 26, 2001
The Saudi family of Osama bin Laden is severing its financial ties with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm known for its connections to influential Washington political figures, executives who have been briefed on the decision said today.
The decision, reached late last week, was by mutual agreement, a senior executive with the investment firm said. It came largely as a result of public controversy about the family's stake in a Carlyle fund that invests in buyouts of military and aerospace companies, the executive said.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the investment was criticized amid speculation that the family might profit from increased military spending from America's war on terrorism.
''This wasn't done because anyone thought they did anything wrong,'' the Carlyle executive said. ''We didn't do it with relish or great glee. We felt and they felt that it was something that was causing more attention than it deserved, so we both decided it made sense, given the circumstances, to liquidate the position.''
In many ways, the move by the bin Laden family reflects the problems the family has faced since Sept. 11, as it has struggled with tensions between its global business interests and its connection to Mr. bin Laden, one of 53 siblings. The family, which publicly condemned the terrorist attack, disowned Mr. bin Laden in the 1990's and maintains that it has no relationship with him anymore.
The majority of the family's net worth comes from its primary company, the Saudi Binladin Group, one of the most prominent construction companies in the Middle East.
But the family also invests around the globe with an array of funds and financial institutions, including several in the United States. The Carlyle investments in question are among those.
That financial and regional influence has won the family and its business an array of prominent visitors from the United States. Trips for American businesses arranged by the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, a Washington trade organization, often feature visits with the Saudi Binladin Group.
In recent years, Frank C. Carlucci, the chairman of Carlyle and a former secretary of defense, has visited the family's headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as have former President George Bush and James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state. Mr. Bush works as an adviser to Carlyle, and Mr. Baker is a partner in the firm.
The family's financial relationship with Carlyle began in 1994. At that time, they committed $2 million to a buyout fund, Carlyle Partners II, a tiny fraction of the $1.3 billion raised for the fund. Much of that money was then invested in the fund gradually over many years, the Carlyle executive said, as new opportunities for corporate buyouts emerged.
As a result of the recent decision to sever the financial relationship with Carlyle, the investment firm bought out the family's stake. A much smaller investment by the family in a single deal, amounting to about $20,000 or less, is also being liquidated, the Carlyle executive said.