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Giuliani's Past Dealings With Serbia, Iran, Russia Could Draw Scrutiny

  • RFE/RL

Rudy Giuliani is the former mayor of New York City and is believed to be a leading candidate to become U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state.

Rudy Giuliani is the former mayor of New York City and is believed to be a leading candidate to become U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is said to be one of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's leading candidates to become secretary of state, has had past dealings with foreign leaders and groups from Serbia to Russia and Iran that could draw scrutiny if he is nominated.

Giuliani criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her ties to foreign governments and corporations when she was running for the White House, but critics say his past associations could expose him to the same charges.

In one incident, Giuliani traveled to Belgrade in 2012 and met with Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's current prime minister who was then leader of the Serbian Progressive Party that had been allied with Serbia's notorious strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

News of Giuliani's trip prompted Clinton, while she was secretary of state, to write "this is outrageous" in an e-mail that was later leaked and spurred the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade to issue a statement at the time saying the United States wasn't taking sides in Serbia's elections.

Giuliani himself views his extensive foreign travel and contacts as a major reason he's qualified for the top diplomatic job.

"I've been in 80 countries, 150 different foreign trips," Giuliani said in an interview on Fox News on November 15. "A lot of it for different reasons. Speeches. Security consulting, where I helped bring down crime."

In another episode, Giuliani was paid by the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq, which was linked to assassinations of at least six Americans in the 1970s, to petition the State Department to take the group off its designated terrorist blacklist.

The group was later delisted by Clinton's State Department in 2012 because, officials said, it hadn't committed any acts of terrorism in at least a decade.

"My ties to them are very open," Giuliani told The New York Times in a recent interview.

Giuliani's dealings with Russia may also face scrutiny in Senate confirmation hearings if Trump nominates him for a top cabinet post.

His ties to TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a consulting firm that helps Western clients advance their business interests in emerging markets of the former Soviet Union, date back to 2004, when Giuliani visited Moscow to meet Russian businessmen and politicians, according to the company's website.

According to Giuliani's profile on TriGlobal's website, the consulting firm's president, Vitaly Pruss, "worked closely" with Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm Giuliani formed in 2002 after leaving his mayoral post, to develop strategies for Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft and other companies.

State-owned Transneft was among the Russian oil companies targeted with sanctions by Western powers following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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