Profiles » Thomas Clines
Thomas Clines Businessman in the Enterprise
Retired CIA agent Thomas Clines worked with Enterprise businessmen Richard Secord and Albert Hakim to facilitate weapons sales to the Contras. He oversaw their weapons purchases from private sellers in Europe as well as their deliveries to the Nicaraguan rebels, earning as much as a third of the profits from each sale and over $800,000 total for his involvement throughout 1985 and 1986.
After Secord and Hakim pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Walsh’s ongoing investigations, Walsh’s office charged Clines with four crimes: two felony counts for underreporting his receipts on his 1985 and 1986 tax forms and two for lying about his foreign financial accounts on those same forms. Walsh was able to do so because, despite a Swiss Treaty that banned the prosecution of tax crimes based upon the Enterprise’s released financial records, they were admissible if “the records could be obtained from some source other than pursuant to the treaty,” in this case from Secord and Hakim.
Through documentary evidence and the testimony of Secord and the Enterprise’s Swiss financial manager William Zucker, Walsh revealed that Clines stated his gross receipts in 1985 were $265,000 and $402,513 in 1986, $203,431 and $57,009 less than the income Walsh could prove he had received from the Enterprise during those years, respectively. Although Secord, a hostile witness (he hoped that the jury would find Clines “not guilty”), claimed that the evidence against Clines was based on inaccurate data falsified by Hakim, the government had made no use of Hakim’s fabricated data in their case.
Zucker also testified about Clines’s attempts to hide this money. First, Clines opened an Enterprise account in 1986 using a false name, “C. Tea.” In December 1986, Zucker recalled, Clines told him to transfer his remaining funds ($311,600) in the Enterprise account to a numbered Swiss account. During trial, Clines admitted that the claim on his tax forms that he had no foreign accounts was false.
Clines was found guilty on all four felony counts. He was sentenced to serve 16 months in prison and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine.