By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
New York investment advisor has been arrested for illegal receipt of funds from the Libyan government, in dealings that involved millionaire Dallas developer Trammell Crow and members of his family.
A sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleges Bodine received the illegal funds in exchange for cultivating contacts with influential Americans who might help lift the international sanctions imposed on Libya following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The U.S. had imposed strict trade sanctions on Libya--barring American citizens from doing business with that country's government or its citizens--after Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi refused to extradite two of his government's intelligence agents indicted in the bombing.
In the eight-page affidavit, filed last week in federal court, U.S. Customs special agent Michael Winters laid out a chronology of events that took place in 1992 and 1993, involving Bodine, the Libyans, and "a Texas businessman and his family members."
The affidavit does not identify the Crows by name. But when paired with dozens of documents previously obtained and analyzed by the Observer in a December 22, 1994 cover story ("The Crow-Qadhafi connection"), it offers extensive details about the involvement of the legendary Dallas real estate family.
The affidavit, for example, refers to a June 1993 federal raid on "the business address of an alleged conspirator in Dallas, Texas." The Observer story reported that government investigators raided the downtown Dallas offices of developer Billingsley, Crow's son-in-law.
The affidavit also details the investigators' belief that Bodine, holding out the prospect that Qadhafi's finance minister, Mohamed El Bukhari, might purchase a large chunk of the Crows' real estate, succeeded in getting the Crows to entertain the Libyan and exploit high-level contacts for him in Washington.
No charges have been filed against Billingsley or any other member of the Crow family. When asked if Billingsley is a target in the federal probe, assistant U.S. attorney Eric Dubelier, who is leading the inquiry, said: "The investigation is ongoing."
Reached by telephone in his Dallas office, Billingsley said in a brief conversation that he had not even heard of Bodine's arrest. He then abruptly ended the conversation, saying: "I don't give interviews anyway." Through a member of his staff, Trammell Crow declined comment for this story. Bodine's attorney did not return calls for comment.
According to the government affidavit, Bodine signed on in September 1992 as a political advisor to the Libyan government, offering to help solve "the Lockerbie problem" in exchange for an $8 million contract. In June 1992, according to the affidavit, Bodine established a company in the British Virgin Islands named IAG International; at about the same time, he also initiated the opening of a bank account in Credit Suisse in Geneva, according to the affidavit.
A "cooperating individual," who the government has not named, has told investigators that "the purpose of setting up this off-shore entity and account was to receive funds from the Libyan government for the services that were being performed by Bodine and others and to disguise the origin of these funds so that they could be transferred into the United States," according to the affidavit.
In late September 1992, the document states, Bodine arranged a meeting between the Libyan treasury minister and a businessman in Dallas. Documents previously obtained by the Observer show Billingsley had corresponded with Bodine about arranging a meeting between himself and Bukhari."The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the possible sale of a large tract of property in the Dallas area to a company owned by the Libyan government and also to secure the assistance of the Texas businessman and his family members in contacting officials of the U.S. government on behalf of the government of Libya," according to the affidavit.
At about the same time, the government affidavit contends, Bodine attempted to make arrangements for Qadhafi's treasury minister to attend a presidential fundraiser in Dallas to meet President George Bush. The fundraiser was at the Highland Park estate of Harlan Crow, Trammell's son, the Observer has reported. After the Secret Service was notified that the Libyan had been invited, he was barred from attending, according to the affidavit.
In October 1992, the affidavit states, the Texas businessman's father-in-law (Trammell Crow) met with the U.S. National Security Advisor (Brent Scowcroft). In letters obtained by the Observer, Crow wrote about both his own meeting with Scowcroft and inviting Bukhari to an annual camp-out he hosts each October at his East Texas ranch for 150 business and government leaders.
Though the government refused to issue Bukhari a visa to attend the gathering, he showed up anyway after illegally crossing into Texas through Mexico, the Observer has reported.
According to the government affidavit, three witnesses "with direct knowledge of the relevant events" state that Bodine on October 27, 1992 "assisted in the smuggling of the Libyan treasury minister unlawfully into the United States through Mexico so that he could attend a function thrown by the father-in-law of the Texas businessman."
Copies of Billingsley's date book as well as ticket receipts previously obtained by the Observer indicated Crow's son-in-law planned a Southwest Airlines trip back from Harlingen on October 29; ticket receipts list the passengers as Bodine, "Billingsworth," and "Rowe."
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city