Obama donor imprisoned for $292 million bank fraud seeks early release
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Iranian-American businessman who gave money to Democrats including former President Barack Obama should be released early from his 12-year prison term for a $292 million bank fraud and moved to home confinement, his lawyers said on Friday. Lawyers for Hassan Nemazee, 68, who has spent nearly 8-1/2 years in prison, said he qualified for early release under a prison reform law signed by President Donald Trump last month
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Iranian-American businessman who gave money to Democrats including former President Barack Obama should be released early from his 12-year prison term for a $292 million bank fraud and moved to home confinement, his lawyers said on Friday.
Lawyers for Hassan Nemazee, 68, who has spent nearly 8-1/2 years in prison, said he qualified for early release under a prison reform law signed by President Donald Trump last month.
The bipartisan First Step Act lets judges release to home confinement some older prisoners who have served at least two-thirds of their sentences.
Nemazee's lawyers said their client has been a model prisoner, has a job and housing lined up for after his release, and "embodies the very paradigm" of the type of person Congress intended for home confinement.
The lawyers said the Federal Bureau of Prisons has not responded to Nemazee's request for home confinement, possibly because of the partial government shutdown, and asked U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan to grant it.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan declined to comment.
Nemazee, a U.S. citizen whose family left Iran after the 1979 revolution, pleaded guilty in 2010 to obtaining $292 million in loans from Bank of America Corp
His criminal case was separate from his political activities. These included being a top "bundler" of contributions to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and donating money to Hillary Clinton, who was Obama's first secretary of state and lost her own White House run in 2016 to Trump.
Other prisoners have also invoked the First Step Act to seek home confinement.
On Jan. 7, another judge rejected that relief for Bernard Madoff's longtime secretary Annette Bongiorno, who is serving a six-year prison term over her role in her boss's Ponzi scheme, saying it was initially in the prison bureau's discretion.
The case is U.S. v. Nemazee, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-cr-00902.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.