Firm Reportedly Cancels Clinton Speech Talks
Reuters - February 14, 2001
The financial firm UBS Warburg of London, fearing it would be drawn into controversies
surrounding former President Clinton, has canceled talks to
hire him for a speech, The New York Times reported on
The newspaper cited people involved in the negotiations as
saying that the large fees involved -- Clinton reportedly
commands $100,000 per speech -- would create an appearance of
impropriety because a senior UBS executive wrote a letter
urging Clinton to pardon billionaire fugitive financier Marc
Congress is investigating Clinton's pardon of Rich, whose
ex-wife Denise Rich contributed hundreds of thousands of
dollars to the Democratic Party. Republicans and Democrats
alike have criticized the pardon granted on Jan. 20, Clinton's
last day in office.
Clinton's post-presidency has turned into a debacle over
the pardon, the embarrassing return of White House furniture,
plans for an ostentatious Manhattan penthouse office that he
was forced to scrap and an ill-starred corporate speech in
The New York Times report said UBS Warburg, parent company
of the U.S. investment firm Paine Webber, decided that a speech
by Clinton at an investment banking conference in New York in
April "wasn't in the best interests of the firm."
Pierre de Weck, a Zurich-based UBS executive, wrote to
Clinton on Dec. 4 about Rich, the newspaper reported. It said
de Weck described Rich, who has lived as a fugitive in
Switzerland for 17 years, as "an honest, upright citizen who
has also been very charitable." UBS was formerly known as the
Union Bank of Switzerland.
An Apology Over Clinton
Already one company that Clinton spoke to has apologized to its clients.
The major investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.
apologized to people who were upset after he spoke at a company
event in Florida this month.
The clients objected to Clinton because of the Rich pardon
and because of the former president's behavior while in office
-- he was impeached by the House of Representatives for
obstruction of justice over an affair with White House intern
Monica Lewinsky but acquitted by the Senate.
But other speeches are planned.
Monday, Oracle Corp. said Clinton would deliver the keynote
address to e-business leaders on the opening day of Oracle
AppsWorld in New Orleans Feb. 19. Clinton was also scheduled to
speak about the role of the media in a democracy at a
conference on Feb. 27, hosted by Credit Suisse First Boston and
the entertainment daily Variety.
CSFB is a unit of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse Group
The New York Times said a Clinton speech March 26 at
publicly funded Salem State College in Massachusetts had
created a partisan controversy there with Republicans insisting
that no public money be used to pay Clinton.
See Also: The Clemency Page