Prescott Sheldon Bush
Prescott Sheldon Bush, father of George H.W. Bush, and the grandfather of the
current president, established the family dynasty – both politically and financially
-- mixing politics, banking, oil and doing business with the enemy.
He started out in investment banking. In 1924 Prescott Bush’s father-in-law, George Herbert Walker of the well-connected banking and business family, helped him set up an investment banking business with Averell Harriman, a secretary of commerce under President Truman and the 52nd governor of New York. The firm was called W. A. Harriman & Co.
In 1928, Bush and the firm helped take the IPO of energy and natural gas company Dresser Industries. Prescott remained on Dresser’s board for 22 years, leaving when he ran for public office in 1950. George H.W. Bush took one of his first jobs with Dresser in Texas after graduating from Yale in 1948. He held several positions there before founding his own oil company, Zapata Petroleum, in 1953.
Halliburton bought Dresser in 1998 for $7 billion, in a deal brokered by Dick Cheney, who served as secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1993. In 2001, Halliburton was forced to settle the asbestos lawsuits that it acquired with Dresser, causing the company’s stock price to fall by eighty percent in just over a year. Cheney, however, had already cashed out with $40 million in 2000 when he was chosen as George W. Bush’s running mate for the presidential campaign.
In its early years, Harriman merged with merchant bank Brown Brothers & Co., creating Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world’s largest private investment bank.
One of the first projects Prescott Bush took on at the investment firm was to manage United Banking Corp., which had been established by Harriman and George Herbert Walker to provide a U.S. bank for the Thyssens, Nazi Germany’s most powerful industrial family. UBC worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands.
When the U.S. government enacted the Trading with the Enemy Act in 1942, President Roosevelt froze UBC’s assets, as well as those of two its affiliates and the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), to which Prescott also had ties. They were held by the government for the duration of the war, then returned afterward.
UBC was dissolved in 1951. For his single share in UBC, Prescott was supposedly reimbursed $1.5 million. These assets were later used to launch Bush family investments in the Texas energy industry.
Prescott served as U.S. Senator from Connecticut from 1952-1963. He died in October 1972.
Prescott Bush had five children: Prescott Bush Jr.; George H.W. Bush, Nancy Bush Ellis, Jonathan Bush and William H.T. Bush. Some of them followed in his footsteps in politics, while others also developed business relationships with some of most notorious, corrupt leaders and financial manipulators in the world.
Prescott Jr. had ties to China, cultivating a close relationship with former President Jiang Zemin. Through his real estate development firm, Prescott Jr. joined with Japanese partners to build a Shanghai golf course. The Japanese company, Aoki, was found in 1988 to have been bribing Panama strongman Manuel Noriega for business contracts.
Prescott Jr. also served as a paid consultant for Asset Management International Financing & Settlement to set up a communications network in a joint-venture deal with China that involved $300 million of Hughes Aircraft satellites. President George H.W. Bush lifted sanctions against China in December 1989, citing “national interest,’’ that would have otherwise blocked the satellite deal. He did so just six months after China’s military cracked down on peaceful pro-Democracy protests, made famous by the photo of a lone man standing before a tank in Tianamen Square. Hundreds of civilians were killed.
When Asset Management later went bankrupt, Prescott Bush Jr. arranged a bailout through a Japanese investment firm later accused of having ties to organized crime.
George H.W. Bush helped cement the family political and business dynasty, starting out in the oil business, through his links to wealthy and corrupt financiers from Saudi Arabia, to his stints as U.S. vice president and president.
From his time as director of the CIA, from November 1975 to January 1977, George H.W. Bush became closely involved with the Bin Laden family and Saudi royalty. Salem Bin Laden, a brother of terrorist Osama bin Laden, was one of the two closest friends of Saudi King Fahd. The Bin Ladens and Khalid bin Mafhouz, who was involved in the corrupt BCCI, helped fund George W. Bush.’s oil venture in Texas. George H.W. Bush was also an adviser at the Carlyle Group, helping to woo Saudi money to the tune of $80 million in Carlyle investments.
Jonathan Bush was an executive at Riggs Bank, which essentially collapsed in 2004 after paying a total of $41 million in fines for violating money-laundering laws. The bank was accused of mishandling, in part, the ambassadorial accounts of Saudi Arabia, and hiding millions of dollars in transfers from former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Riggs Bank held the account of the Saudi Arabian ambassador, for whom Jonathan was a longtime financial adviser, and his wife used the bank to send money that wound up funding two of the 9/11 hijackers.
William H.T. “Bucky’’ Bush made more than $2.7 million through the sale of a company, Engineered Support Systems Inc., with millions of dollars in Iraq war contracts. He’s also under investigation by the Pentagon and the SEC for withholding bad news from shareholders while he cashed stock options worth $450,000.
- President’s Uncle Shares Family Ties to China, USAToday, February 28, 2002: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002/02/19/usat-prescott-bush.htm
- How Bush’s Grandfather Helped Hitler’s Rise to Power, The Guardian, September 25, 2004: http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html
- Prescott Jr. at Asset Management in China
- http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?financing_of_al-qaeda:_a_more_detail ed_look=binladenFamily&timeline=complete_911_timeline