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 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.
Basit Igtet with wife Sara Bronfman.
The Dalai Lama did not praise Keith; he told him instead that if he had done something wrong, he must admit it.