Lionsgate Founder Hits Back at New York Times Over Clinton Foundation Exposé

Frank Giustra - H 2014
AP Images

Frank Giustra - H 2014

The mining magnate rebuts accusations he donated to Bill Clinton's charity to win U.S. State Department approval for sale of Canadian uranium producer to Russia.

Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra on Monday unloaded on The New York Times for an April 23 article alleging links between himself, the Clinton Foundation, a 2005 Russian uranium deal and efforts to win U.S. government approval to sell a Canadian uranium producer to Russia.

"If this book was to be made into a movie, it would be titled The Theory of Nothing," Giustra told The Hollywood Reporter. He was referring to Peter Schweizer's Clinton Cash, to be published May 5; the Times article by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire based much of its investigation on an advanced copy of the book.

Giustra said Becker wrote a similar story in the Times in 2008 about his links with the Clinton Foundation that was debunked by Forbes magazine after an exhaustive investigation. "So what does she [Becker] do, she writes another article last week, making the same mistakes that she made in the first place, and without taking the opportunity to talk to me," he said.

The Times stories claim that in 2005 Giustra secured the rights to uranium deposits in Kazakhstan during a trip he made to that country with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and which involved a meeting with Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Giustra, who is a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, said he completed negotiations for the purchase of the Kazakh mining stakes in late 2005 on his own, without Clinton's participation.

He added that Clinton made his own way to Almaty, Kazakhstan, and did not travel on Giustra's plane, as the Times article reports. "The article claimed we flew in together. Twice she's made the same mistake. We flew in two or three days apart," Giustra said. "He [Clinton] came in on someone else's plane. I came in on my own plane. I was there for business. And we carried on to India after that," he added.

The Canadian power broker made his fortune in mining before launching Lionsgate Entertainment in 1997, and more recently picked up a major stake in Canadian indie producer Thunderbird Films, based in Vancouver. Giustra, who remains a Lionsgate board member, also runs a charitable foundation with Clinton: the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.

In a statement issued after the Times article was published, Giustra claimed that in fall 2007 he sold his shares in the Canadian uranium producer Uranium One, which includes Uranium resources in the U.S., "at least 18 months before Hilary Clinton became the (U.S.) Secretary of State."

The Times story claims donations to the Clinton Foundation were made to help secure approval by U.S. government agencies, including the State Department, for the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom, a state-controlled nuclear giant in Russia.

"The fact that she [Becker] tied a number of unrelated events that happened over a bunch of different years and were completely unconnected, and which appear like a long connection of misconduct, I would think any journalist that is a proper journalist would know that that's misleading," Giustra said.