McCain Pal Gets 54 Months For Fraud

Raffaello Follieri, perhaps most famous for being Anne Hathaway's ex-boyfriend, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison this Friday aft

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Raffaello Follieri, perhaps most famous for being Anne Hathaway's ex-boyfriend, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison this Friday after being pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering.

Raffaello Follieri, 30, pleaded guilty in September to fraudulently obtaining US$2.4 million by leading investors to believe he had Vatican connections that enabled him to buy the Roman Catholic Church's unwanted US properties at a discount.

..."I have dishonored my family name and embarrassed the church I love," Follieri told Judge John Koeltl in US District Court in Manhattan in a statement in Italian that was translated into English.

"I will never be able to wash away the stain. I hope that someday those hurt by my actions will forgive me," Follieri said before the judge handed down the sentence.

He'll be deported after serving his sentence.

Follieri had good connections to both McCain and Rick Davis, for whom he had promised to "deliver Catholic votes", and was the host of John McCain's 70th birthday party, celebrated onboard the yacht of another dodgy character - a Russian oligarch who pretty much owns the tiny state of Montenegro.

In mid-September The Nation's website published a photo of McCain celebrating his seventieth birthday in Montenegro in August 2006 at a yacht party hosted by convicted Italian felon Raffaello Follieri and his movie-star girlfriend Anne Hathaway. On the same day one of the largest mega-yachts in the world, the Queen K, was moored in the same bay of Kotor. This was where the real party was. The owner of the Queen K was known as "Putin's oligarch": Oleg Deripaska, controlling shareholder of the Russian aluminum giant RusAl, currently listed as the ninth-richest man in the world, with a rap sheet as abundant as his wealth. By mid-2005 Deripaska had already virtually taken control of Montenegro's economy by snapping up its aluminum plant, KAP--which accounts for up to 40 percent of the country's GDP and some 80 percent of its export earnings--in a nontransparent privatization tender strongly criticized by NGO watchdogs, Montenegrin politicians and journalists. The Nation has learned that Deripaska told one of his closest associates that he bought the plant "because Putin encouraged him to do it." The reason: "the Kremlin wanted an area of influence in the Mediterranean."

Deripaska is himself involved in some political scandal right now - involving both a high level Labour Party cabinet minister, Lord Peter Mandelson who was one of Tony Blair's closest advisors and the current shadow chancellor, the Conservative Party's George Osborne. Both McCain and his campaign manager, Rick Davis have dubious ties to Deripaska too. Other McCain campaign advisers, lobbyists to a man, have their own shady connections.

John McCain keeps saying he's a reformer and a maverick with no time for the incestuous and often shady dealings of the K Street crowd - but his actions speak louder than his words.

Crossposted from Newshoggers

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