The inside story on Sara Bronfman, Basit Igtet and Lama Tenzin Dhonden

Lama Tenzin Dhonden made news recently when he was suspended from overseeing a trust fund used for the Dalai Lama in the USA, after accusations of financial improprieties surfaced.

Lama Tenzin was also involved in a personal relationship with Seagram heiress Sara Bronfman that started around 2009.

Sara Bronfman and Lama Tenzin.

Sara is the daughter of the late Edgar Bronfman Sr., former chairman of Seagram’s and President of the World Jewish Congress. The Bronfman family wealth came from her grandfather, Samuel Bronfman, a producer of alcohol during Prohibition who smuggled it from Canada into America, reputedly using gangsters such as Al Capone to assist him.

In 2002, Sara and her sister, Clare, became involved in NXIVM. They had access to about $150 million in trust funds when they joined.

Court records show the sisters siphoned off their trust fund to finance NXIVM and cover the failed bets of its leader, Keith Raniere, in the commodities market. Millions were also spent by the sisters to support a flood of lawsuits filed against Keith’s enemies.

By 2007, the sisters had squandered their personal trust and were desperate for more money to sink into NXIVM. Sara and Clare sought to change the trustees overseeing their portion of the master trust in order to gain access to another $200 million. Edgar Bronfman Sr. considered having his daughters declared incompetent by the courts.

Sara married an Irish jockey, Ronan Clarke, and divorced him four months later. She had an affair with her cult leader, Keith Raniere, as well as some of his disciples — including, according to reports, Edgar Boone and Emiliano Salinas, son of the former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.

Sara also had an affair with the Dalai Lama’s representative in America, Lama Tenzin Dhonden. That lasted for a time, but for reasons unknown, Lama Tenzin broke up with her.

On the rebound, Sara began dating Basit Igtet, a Libyan exile, and native of Benghazi.  Basit’s late father was accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the Qaddafi government and sent to prison. Basit fled to Switzerland and lived in exile for years. He was well mannered, well groomed, articulate and played the part of a well-heeled man, which he wasn’t.

At this emotional time, Sara needed a companion, possibly a husband. She seemed crestfallen at losing her lover, Lama Tenzin. Sometime between the time Lama Tenzin was nearly ending his relationship with Sara and the time she started supporting Basit Igtet, she got pregnant.  Sara was reportedly about three months pregnant when she married Basit on July 15, 2012. Her daughter was born six months later.

Basit was put on a reasonable allowance by Sara and I suspect he looked forward to exerting a greater control of his wife’s wealth, as time passed.  She would get her full inheritance upon the death of her father.  When Edgar died at the end of 2013, Sara and Clare came into control of vast money. Clare decided to put her fortune at the feet of Keith Raniere. 

A battle seems to have occurred between Keith and Basit for Sara’s money. At first, Basit was not too friendly. However, when it became clear Keith would control Sara’s money, Basit became friendlier with Keith.

Keith told Basit he should run for Prime Minister of Libya despite the fact that he had a Jewish wife and had not lived in Libya for decades. Basit ran for Prime Minister in 2014, spending Sara’s money.

Reportedly, Basit was asked how he would solve the security issues beleaguering Libya.  He replied that solving the four problems of “fear, greed, love and sex” was the formula.  He lost badly.

Again with Keith’s guidance,  Basit used social media earlier this year to gather supporters to stage a rally to overthrow the government of Libya and to install himself as its un-elected President. His effort failed since hardly anyone showed up to support him.

NXIVM is alleged to be involved in illegal activities – such as money laundering, immigration fraud, tax evasion, coercion, human trafficking, blackmail, hazing and other crimes. Keith Raniere may be arrested soon.

It remains to be seen if the Bronfman sisters, who inherited wealth spawned by crime, will also be charged as criminals, completing the circle of the ill gotten money of the Bronfmans.

Basit may wind up with Sara’s money, if there is any left after a criminal trial, seizure and the class action lawsuit sure to emerge when the truth hits the fan.

Lama Tenzin was pretending to be a monk. Allison Mack has a shoulder to lean on.
Sara Bronfman and Abdul Basit Igtet with daughter. 


Basit Igtet with wife Sara Bronfman.

Keith Raniere.
Sir Richard Branson and Sara Bronfman at a NXIVM retreat.
Sir Richard Branson and Sara Bronfman at Necker Island during a NXIVM gathering.
Clare and Sara Bronfman on stage with the Dalai Lama. Sara’s lover, Lama Tenzin Dhonden helped arrange the Dalai Lama to appear in Albany. The two sisters wanted the Dalai Lama to praise Keith publicly.

The Dalai Lama did not praise Keith; he told him instead that if he had done something wrong, he must admit it.





The Dalai Lama gave Keith Raniere the white sash. Ironically, Keith Raniere gives out a white sash to beginners in NXIVM. Was the Dalai Lama trying to teach Keith that he was at the very beginner level of spirituality, as un-evolved as the lowest of his students?

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Frank Parlato

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[…] amis, le n°1 du Dalaï-Lama aux États-Unis, et un autre avec qui elle s’est mariée, un émigré libyen qui s’est présenté, poussé par Raniere, au poste de Premier Ministre de la Libye en 2014, avant de mener une campagne sur les réseaux […]

5 years ago

I’m interested in the Mexico connection. There is a Hannah Bronfman that is promoting alcohol, tequila specifically and she looks Latino. Carlos Slim is said to answer to Carlos Salinas who’s son Emillio is charged with co conspirating with Keith. Emillio’s wife is an Actress in Mexico, perhaps like Allison Mack, recruiting others. Now we have had a discovery of a camp where children have obviously been held in Tuscon that is on the property of Cemex an International co. who’s headquarters is Mexico and a connection to Bronfman Rothschild a financial investment co. And this is happening at the same time that 6 are shot in Scottsdale, up the road from Tuscon, the forensic Dr. on Jon Bennett Ramsey, 2 paralegals in family counseling, and a hypnotherapist and counselor in a group where all the rest are women. This is very weird but if all is connected, very huge.

5 years ago

Who is Sen. John McCain married to? Who did her father work for?

Branson did a VIP Intensive
Branson did a VIP Intensive
6 years ago

I think NXIVM love-bombed Branson into taking a VIP Intensive about 2003. I think it was delivered on Necker Island, which Branson owns. There are lots of boozy party pix from the event.

6 years ago

I think the NXIVM/ESP people all paid to visit the island and Richard Branson. They thought it would look good on their site. I don’t think R.B wasn’t overly impressed as he never got more involved. They all just seemed to party on down when they were there.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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