Desperate Mission: Jeb Bush Asked Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim To Save Lehman Brothers

Apr 21 2014, 3:39pm CDT | by

In the summer of 2008, as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression was unfolding, Jeb Bush, Florida’s former governor and brother of then President George W. Bush, traveled to Mexico to ask Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú to rescue Lehman Brothers, The New York Times reported.

In a front page article on Monday, The Times revealed that within a year of ending his term as Florida’s governor, Bush had signed on as consultant to Lehman Brothers, where he was enlisted to reach out to Carlos Slim in a plan code-named Project Verde (Green Project). Slim, says the Times, was not interested in making a major investment in Lehman Brothers—the Wall Street giant whose bankruptcy catalyzed the financial meltdown—or striking up a joint venture with it. “Project Verde was unsuccessful,” Bush wrote to a Lehman colleague in early July 2008.

When asked to confirm the story, Arturo Elías Ayub, Slim’s spokesperson and son-in-law, told me he had no comment.

Based on records and interviews that show that Jeb Bush participated in the “fevered, last-ditch efforts to prop up Lehman Brothers, a Wall Street bank weighed down by toxic mortgage-backed securities,” The Times learned about Bush’s failed mission, which was unknown until now. The daily says that emails show that as a paid adviser to the company in 2008, Jeb Bush met with Slim Helú as Lehman sought to persuade the world’s second richest man to make a sizable investment in the firm.

In 2008, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the US (behind Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch), doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and tradingresearchinvestment managementprivate equity, and private banking.

The revelation is one more example of how Slim is often seen in the U.S: as a “lender of last resort” to troubled companies, including The New York Times.

The Times does not say why Slim rejected the offer, but given that the troubles of Lehman Brothers were already known, Slim probably did not think it was a good investment.

As to why Lehman Brothers chose Bush, and not others, for the Slim mission has to do with his reputation as being close to Mexico. Bush is married to a Mexican national, speaks fluent Spanish and has long-standing connections to powerful Mexicans both in the business community and among the political elite.

With a current net wealth of over $70.4 billion, Slim is the world’s second richest man in the world, according to Forbes.

Twiiter: @DoliaEstevez


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

18 Amazon Dash Buttons Released
18 Amazon Dash Buttons Released
The unique Amazon Dash Buttons are on sale now for Prime Members.
Yahoo Releases Livetext Video Texting App
Yahoo Releases Livetext Video Texting App
The app shares videos, pictures and texts with friends without sound and can rival Whatsapp and Snapchat.
United Airlines Also Hacked by OPM Hackers
United Airlines Also Hacked by OPM Hackers
The hackers previously breached the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and collected massive data.
Windows 10 Ads Excessively Show Babies
Windows 10 Ads Excessively Show Babies
Microsoft released a series of Windows 10 commercials with lots of babies.