2022年12月1日 星期四

Advising Trump Was Professional ‘Death March,’ Financier Testifies 川普好友:為他提供諮詢 如讓事業步上「死亡行軍」

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2022/12/02 第411期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Advising Trump Was Professional 'Death March,' Financier Testifies 川普好友:為他提供諮詢 如讓事業步上「死亡行軍」
South Africa Details Plans to Fight Corruption 南非總統肅貪計畫 引發質疑聲浪
Advising Trump Was Professional 'Death March,' Financier Testifies 川普好友:為他提供諮詢 如讓事業步上「死亡行軍」
文/Rebecca Davis O'Brien

川普好友:為他提供諮詢 如讓事業步上「死亡行軍」

In 2015, financier Tom Barrack agreed to support his old friend Donald Trump's long-shot presidential campaign because he sensed an opportunity in his career's twilight to "weave a web of tolerance" in the Middle East.


The result was "disastrous," Barrack told a jury Monday in Brooklyn's federal court, where he took the witness stand in his own defense on charges that he acted as an undisclosed agent for the United Arab Emirates.


Trump's ban on Muslim immigrants and support for a blockade of Qatar alienated Barrack's longtime friends and business partners in the Middle East, said Barrack, who is of Lebanese descent. The administration's near-constant "drama" made investors skittish about Barrack's companies, he testified. Then the investigators came calling.


Asked by his lawyer about the personal impact of his relationship with the president, Barrack told the courtroom: "I'm sitting with all of you today."


This underlying argument of Barrack's defense — the claim, which the government disputes, that he is being prosecuted because of his friendship with Trump — was one of the themes Barrack touched on Monday in his testimony, which is expected to last several days. He also described his dealings with the Middle East, and the Emiratis in particular, as part of normal business, not a secret influence campaign.


Barrack's trial enters its sixth week in federal court in Brooklyn, and on the same day that jury selection began in the trial of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges in Manhattan, part of the legal entanglement surrounding the former president and his circle.


Barrack is expected to testify Tuesday and part of Wednesday, when prosecutors said they will begin to cross-examine him. Judge Brian M. Cogan told the jury Monday it would likely get the case next week.


Barrack faces nine counts, including acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, obstruction of justice and making false statements.


Asked by his lawyer if he would have been better off advising a different candidate, or none at all.


"In hindsight, unquestionably," Barrack said. Running Colony Capital, a publicly traded company, "the owners of public shares vote with their feet," he said. "With the continued drama that this president found himself in," his shareholders got upset.


"For a public company, it's just the death march."



South Africa Details Plans to Fight Corruption 南非總統肅貪計畫 引發質疑聲浪
文/John Eligon

South Africa Details Plans to Fight Corruption

南非總統肅貪計畫 引發質疑聲浪

South Africa's president has introduced long-anticipated measures to tackle endemic corruption, subjecting even himself and his Cabinet to closer scrutiny of their personal spending and lifestyles. But some analysts question whether reforms that would help the government regain the trust of a fed-up public will ever be carried out.


President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking on national television Sunday evening, said his government would, among other things, establish a permanent anti-corruption unit in the national prosecutor's office, create transparency in the granting of public contracts and increase protections for whistleblowers.


"As a country," he said, "we are emerging from a dark and difficult period."


But Ramaphosa deferred much of the work to root out corruption to Parliament and other government entities. He also did not say how he would tackle some of the most controversial issues closest to home, including what to do about senior officials within his government who have been accused of corruption.


"It's so unserious, it's almost a joke," William Gumede, a professor of public management at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said of Ramaphosa's proposals. If he wanted to show that he was serious about dealing with corruption in his orbit, Gumede added, Ramaphosa should have suspended the ministers accused of corruption.


Ramaphosa's proposals came in response to hundreds of recommendations by a judicial commission that spent three years hearing evidence from more than 300 witnesses about how officials had gutted public enterprises to enrich themselves and their friends. The commission, led by South Africa's chief justice, Raymond Zondo, focused mostly on the nine years that Ramaphosa's predecessor, Jacob Zuma, led the country.


But the current president's reform efforts also come at a particularly fraught time, with Ramaphosa facing his own corruption scandal.


As the country confronts a breakdown in public life, with frequent blackouts because of an overwhelmed electricity grid and increasing water outages, several investigations are underway into whether the president had sought to cover up the theft of potentially millions of dollars in cash from a game farm he owns.


During a news conference last week, Zuma said Ramaphosa, his staunch foe, was corrupt, while another former president, Thabo Mbeki, questioned Ramaphosa's future as a leader amid the farm theft inquiry.




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