Little known to the American public Newt Gingrich and his then wife Marianne were the subject of a US Justice Department criminal investigation in the late 1990s involving a $10 million bribe of the world’s largest private arms dealer, Sarkis Soghanalia
Unaware that Soghanalian was an FBI informant, it is alleged that Marianne Gingrich whilst working for the Israel Export Development Corporation (IEDC) tried to facilitate a bribe to the tune of $10 million so that her husband could use his influence to lift the arms embargo against Iraq in order for Soghanalian to collect an outstanding payment of $54 million from Saddam Hussein.
In a series of interviews before his death in October 2011, Soghanalian claimed that people representing the Gingrichs advised that the money should not be paid directly to Gingrich but to a fund set up by the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies (IASPS), an Israeli/US think tank. According to its website, the IASPS was founded in 1984. It is connected to the Likud Party in Israel and maintains ties to conservative politicians in Israel and the United States.
Tony Khater, Soghanalian’s top aide, claimed that, “The FBI was aware of every contact Sarkis had with these people. The FBI told Sarkis to push for meetings with Gingrich and his wife. The FBI instructed Sarkis to attend the meetings, if they could be arranged.”
According to a Justice Department official, the objective of the 2 yearlong investigation “…was to see if Gingrich, through his then wife, was involved in an attempt by political associates to solicit bribes.” An FBI agent that was active in the case said, “The investigation was called off before we were permitted to finish making a case.”