Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Sun, 2008-03-16 03:00

WASHINGTON, 16 March 2008 — It has all the ingredients of a soap opera: Sex, deceit and intrigue involving a politician who built his career on ethics and propriety.

For New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who promised voters he would clean up the state’s corrupt political ethics, his nosedive to derision — after reports this week linked him to a prostitution ring that is an alleged front for money laundering — instantly derailed the career of a man once considered a political star.

The 48-year-old Democrat, who had a national reputation as “Mr. Clean” and who advocated for the underdog and tackled corporate greed on Wall Street and who was considered a strong potential for a future Democratic president, now finds himself linked to what may become an international scandal.

The story unfolded in an innocuous fashion, when a press release e-mailed to reporters said: “Manhattan US Attorney Charges Organizers and Managers of International Prostitution Ring.”

At first glance, the case seemed routine, and the suspects drew no surprise: A man and three women arrested on charges of running a pricey, online escort business, known as “Emperor’s Club VIP.”

Then, Spitzer was implicated as “Client No. 9,” and New York’s Daily News reported that federal investigators were examining whether Spitzer improperly used taxpayer funds and campaign dollars to facilitate his out-of-town hookups.

Here is where it gets interesting. According to the Jewish Chronicle: “The Spitzer affair also had an Israeli angle. According to court records, Mark Brener, the alleged leader of the ‘The Emperor’s Club’ prostitution ring, held an Israeli passport. Brener was said by his attorney to have been a US citizen for the past 20 years.”

The Chronicle then adds that Spitzer “spearheaded the 2004 investigation into financial misconduct in the World Jewish Congress, publishing a damning report about WJC mismanagement and unregistered payments to senior officials. The investigation led to a deal which barred then WJC Executive Director Israel Singer from being in charge of its finances.” Singer was later fired.

Now Internet journalists are suggesting that Spitzer may have been targeted. says “Spitzer took on Wall Street like no other attorney general before him... His targets in the past have included everyone from big Wall Street investment banks and the $7.5 trillion mutual fund industry to polluting power plants and supermarket chains that underpaid delivery workers.”

Wayne Madsen says Emperor’s Club VIP, the prostitution firm that entangled Spitzer in a call girl ring, is viewed by US intelligence as a front for Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad.

“The sources claim that Spitzer was ‘outed’ for his aggressiveness in attacking money launderers connected to Russian-Israeli organized crime syndicates and other Wall Street malfeasance.”

Internet journalist and Executive Editor Andy Martin said: “Spitzer may have stumbled into a prostitution ring run under the auspices of the Israeli government, namely the Mossad. It is entirely possible that Spitzer was assured that his participation in the prostitution ring was protected precisely because it was run by an Israeli asset.”

“Significantly, the Spitzer sex sting has been handled very gingerly by Israeli media. The coverage is extremely subdued for news involving one of the highest elected Jewish officials in the United States, who was priming himself to be the first Jewish president,” says Martin. “It is almost as though they are aware of the submerged Israeli intelligence angle to the story...”

Whether any of this is true is difficult to confirm at this time, but what is sure is that the FBI and Homeland Security officials revoked Spitzer’s security clearance early this week as the criminal investigation into Spitzer’s alleged use of prostitutes broadened, according to officials familiar with the case.

As a result, Spitzer no longer has access to classified intelligence and security briefings, federal officials told an NBC affiliate on the condition of anonymity.

A spokeswoman for Spitzer did not return calls for comment.

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