Jeb Bush's Nigerian Bribery Scandal Is Back in Court
Just in time for the latest round of Jeb for Prez speculation, the juiciest scandal tied to Florida's former governor is headed back to court. The courts are revisiting a two-decades old charge that a company Bush cofounded spent millions bribing Nigerian officials with federally loaned money to secure a lucrative deal selling water pumps in the African nation.
Now the government is trying to get $74 million in damages back from the company.
Tampa Bay Times outlines the complex case this morning, but notes that the new federal trial won't include allegations about Jeb's role in the scandal or any testimony from the politician.
Still, any mention of the case in the press is bad news for Jeb if he indeed has any further political aspirations, considering many questions about his role in the affair linger.
Jeb founded a company called MWI Corp. in 1988 while his dad, George H.W. Bush, was in the Oval Office. Four years later, MWI nabbed $74 million in financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to sell water pumps in Nigeria.
But the feds balked when they learned the company had promised a huge $28 million "commission" to their agent in Nigeria, calling the payment a bribe to land the contract.
Nigeria eventually repaid $33 million, but MWI has always denied any wrongdoing. Jeb, who traveled to Nigeria to negotiate the deal, also maintains he had nothing to do with setting up the payout to the Nigerian agent.
In the new case, the U.S. government is demanding that MWI pay back the full $74.3 million it got from the Import-Export bank.
Bush won't have to testify, but he's said in the past that the MWI affair has caused him "unmitigated grief" for more than two decades. That's not likely to change anytime soon with the new lawsuit.