Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush blasted the Obama administration's decision to normalize relations with Cuba in a Facebook post Wednesday, but in an example of why Bush's ties to private equity and Barclays could provide fodder for opponents and critics, Barclays (which reportedly pays Bush more than a million dollars a year) had to settle criminal charges for violating sanctions that included Cuba.
Barclays agreed in 2010 to to forfeit $298 million to the United States and to the New York County District Attorney's Office "in connection with violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)," according to a Justice Department press release.
"The violations relate to transactions Barclays illegally conducted on behalf of customers from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and other countries sanctioned in programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)," the Justice Department added.
Bush has been at Barclays since 2008, but the actions that led to the fine took place before the Florida governor was with the bank.
"The Obama administration's decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba is the latest foreign policy misstep by this President, and another dramatic overreach of his executive authority," wrote Bush Wednesday. "It undermines America's credibility and undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba."
"The beneficiaries of President Obama's ill-advised move will be the heinous Castro brothers who have oppressed the Cuban people for decades."
Bush's ties to Barclays have caused some to raise the alarm about his potential candidacy.
"You saw what they did to me with Bain [Capital]," Mitt Romney said according to an article in Politico. "What do you think they'll do to [Bush] over Barclays?"
An article in Bloomberg Businessweek last week carried the ominous titled, "Jeb Bush Has a Mitt Romney Problem."
Another New York Times article carried the titled, "Jeb Bush's Rush to Make Money May Be Hurdle."
According to Fox Business News Bush is remaining an adviser to Barclays while he decides if he is going to run for president.
A Bush spokeswoman defended the Florida governor's record on Cuba in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
"Governor Bush has long been a strong advocate for policies that will foster a free and democratic Cuba," Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. "His record as a supporter of the embargo and on U.S. policy regarding Cuba is clear. That contrasts sharply with the ill-advised decision announced today by President Obama to reestablish diplomatic ties with the Castro regime, which will only serve to benefit these heinous dictators, who for decades have oppressed the Cuban people.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday morning that Bush is leaving Barclays at the end of the year.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
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