E.F. Hutton (1875-1962)

By Richard Sanders, Editor, Press for Conversion!

Hutton is known to have donated at least $20,000 to the American Liberty League and $500 to the Crusaders.

In 1904, Edward Francis Hutton, a New York financier, began what was to become a conglomerate of companies owned by the E.F. Hutton Group. Central to the empire was brokerage house E.F. Hutton & Co. Its subsidiaries included E.F. Hutton Trust, E.F. Hutton Life Insurance and the E.F. Hutton Bank. Hutton had his fingers in other corporate pies too, like General Foods (of which he was chairman). It was acquired by tobacco giant Philip Morris Co. in 1985, and is now Kraft General Foods, the world’s largest consumer products company. He was also chairman of Zonite and a director of both Manufacturers Trust (a New York bank that is now part of the J.P. Morgan Chase banking empire) and Chrysler (which, along with Ford and General Motors, invested in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, aided its rearmament and used slave labour from WWII concentration camps).

In the early 1980s, E.F. Hutton ran TV ads that confidently stated: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” However, in 1985 his company collapsed in a fraud scandal. E.F. Hutton & Co., one of America’s largest brokerage companies, was caught laundering $25.4 million for an Italian organized-crime syndicate that smuggled some 750 kilos of heroin (worth about $1.6 billion) into the U.S. Company president Scott Pierce pleaded guilty to 2,000 counts of fraud. Although the company did pay some fines and repaid its victims, Pierce never went to jail. He was, after all, then-vice-president George Bush Sr.’s brother-in-law (i.e., Barbara Bush’s brother).

In charge of the internal investigation into this high-level corporate scandal was lawyer Griffin Bell, who had some other high-profile clients in the 1980s. One was Eugene Hasenfus, the American mercenary shot down while illegally delivering U.S. weapons to counter-revolutionary Nicaraguan terrorists (the Contras). Soon thereafter, Bell was hired as the personal attorney for George Bush Sr., who was under fire for his own role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In 1988, E.F. Hutton & Co. was purchased by Citigroup. It recently reported a record net income of $17.85 billion in 2003.


Profile History

"Money Laundering," February 6, 1986, Congressional Record - House

Jeffrey Robinson, The Laundrymen: Inside Money Laundering, The World's Third Largest Business, 1998.

Bell, Griffin

"Citigroup," Media Release, January 20, 2004

Source: Press for Conversion! magazine, Issue # 53, "Facing the Corporate Roots of American Fascism," March 2004. Published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

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