Hassan Nemazee pleads not guilty of HSBC fraud

A leading Democratic Party fund-raiser pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of $292 million of loan proceeds.

The fund-raiser, Hassan Nemazee, head of a private equity firm in New York and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, donated to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leading Democrats over the years.

How did this become a democratic issue? The office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, to political action committees and to charities.

He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York, the indictment said.

HSBC says it is fraud. His next appearance in court before Judge Sidney Stein was scheduled for November 4.