Feb. 17, 2010 — -- A Nigerian businessman who has been a significant financial supporter for former President Bill Clinton was stopped from boarding a private jet last month in New Jersey after law enforcement authorities discovered he had been put on the U.S. government's recently expanded terrorist no-fly list, according to a report of the incident provided to ABCNews.com.
The businessman, Gilbert Chagoury, 64, was prevented from boarding the jet at Teterboro airport in New Jersey on Jan. 15, according to the report. Law enforcement authorities reported they ultimately obtained a "waiver" from Washington to permit Chagoury to fly out of the country to France.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the no-fly list is designed to "keep known terrorists off planes." The TSA website says it works with intelligence and law enforcement partners to compile the list and has a "dedicated staff to review and scrub the existing No-Fly list and ensure all nominees meet the standing criteria."
The TSA declined to comment on why or when Chagoury had been placed on the terror no-fly list or who provided the waiver to allow him to board his flight. and referred ABC News to the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) for comment.
A spokesperson for the FBI's TSC also declined to comment about Chagoury, saying the TSC never comments on individual names on the no-fly list.
The spokesperson did say the list is "fluid" and individuals may be moved up or downgraded at any time based on the current threat environment, but "an individual's social status, financial means, and political affiliations are not considered" in an individual being moved up or down the list.
Chagoury's son, Gilbert Jr., confirmed that his father had been stopped by the FBI at Teterboro. He said he would ask his father to call ABC News for further comment but the senior Chagoury has yet to respond.
A Clinton spokesman, Matt McKenna, said the former President's office was unaware of the incident until contacted by ABCNews.com. "We had no role whatsoever" in helping Chagoury get the waiver, said McKenna. "Nor would we ever," he added.
Chagoury is a controversial figure in Africa and Europe but it is the first time there has been any suggestion of alleged ties to terrorism.
Described as a billionaire, Chagoury runs an industrial conglomerate in Nigeria, the Chagoury Group, and had ties to a former corrupt president there.
In 2009 Chagoury pledged $1 billion via the Chagoury Group as part of his commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the Global Initiative website. Chagoury also recently donated more than $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a list of donors made public by the foundation in December. Members of Chagoury's family were contributors to the 2008 Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.