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More Neil Bush Wheeler-Dealer Details Consultant On Iraq Contracts Employed President's Brother
by Stephen Fidler and Thomas Catan in London
The Financial Times - UK
November 28, 2003

Neil Bush, a younger brother of US President George W. Bush, has had a $60,000-a-year employment contract with a top adviser to a Washington-based consulting firm set up this year to help companies secure contracts in Iraq.

Neil Bush disclosed the payments during divorce proceedings in March from his now ex-wife, Sharon. The divorce was finalised in April and the court papers were disclosed by the Houston Chronicle this week.

Mr Bush said he was co-chairman of Crest Investment Corporation, a company based in Houston, Texas, that invests in energy and other ventures. For this he received $15,000 every three months for working an average three or four hours a week.

The other co-chairman and principal of Crest is Jamal Daniel, a Syrian-American who is an advisory board member of New Bridge Strategies, a company set up this year by a group of businessmen with close links to the Bush family or administrations. Its chairman is Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's campaign director in the 2000 presidential elections.

Other figures at New Bridge include Ed Rogers, its vice-chairman and a senior official in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, and Lanny Griffith, with whom he works in the lobby firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers. Lord Charles Powell, adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, is listed as an advisory board member.

On its website, New Bridge describes itself as being created to "take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the US-led war in Iraq".

In his deposition, Neil Bush said he provided Crest "miscellaneous consulting services". This included "answering phone calls when Jamail [sic] Daniel, the other co-chairman, called and asked for advice".

There is evidence that the relationship between Mr Bush and Mr Daniel goes further. Joseph Peacock, Crest's company secretary, is one of the original investors in Ignite, Neil Bush's educational software company based in Austin, Texas.

In 1996, Mr Daniel and his wife hosted a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner at their Houston mansion for the Texas Alliance Against Alcohol Abuse. The event was chaired by Sharon Bush, while George H. W. Bush, the former president, and his wife Barbara were to be present, according to the Houston Chronicle in 1996.

Other investors in Ignite, which was founded last year, include George H. W. and Barbara Bush, and Winston Wong, a Taiwan businessman who started the Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. The court papers further show Mr Bush benefits from a contract with Grace, a company also backed by Jiang Miangheng, son of Jiang Zemin, the former president of China.

Under the deal, signed on August 15 2002, Grace would pay Mr Bush $2m in shares over five years, issued in annual $400,000 increments.

In return, according to the Los Angeles Times, Mr Bush agreed to "provide GSMC from time to time with business strategies and policies; latest information and trends of the related industry, and other advice", according to the contract.

A call to New Bridge in Houston went unanswered yesterday, a holiday in the US. Previous attempts to contact Mr Daniel through the office were unsuccessful.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2003

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