Arnall confirmed as US Ambassador
10 February 2006
AMSTERDAM — The US Senate confirmed billionaire Roland E. Arnall as Ambassador to the Netherlands on Wednesday evening.
Arnall was nominated to replace Clifford Sobel in The Hague six months ago. The confirmation process dragged on for months due to allegations Arnall’s Ameriquest Mortgage Co. was involved in unfair lending practices.
The deadlock was finally ended when Ameriquest agreed to pay USD 325 million (EUR 271 million) to settle these allegations against it in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The Senate backed Arnall’s appointment as Ambassador with an uncontested voice vote.
Dutch Defence Minister Henk Kamp welcomed Arnall’s confirmation. “American ambassadors have always had an eye for Dutch interests and I am confident this will be the case with this ambassador,” Kamp said at the Nato summit in Italy.
Arnall is seen as an important supporter of the President. The billionaire and his second wife, Dawn, raised more than USD 12 million for Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004.
A bond developed between Bush and Arnall in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Arnall described Bush as a “leader of great integrity and courage, who will free the world of the scourge of terrorism”.
The businessman has donated money to politicians for years, with Democrats being the main benefactors in the 1970s.
He helped found the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles in 1977. The international Jewish organisation describes itself as a human rights group dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action.
Arnall was born to Jewish parents in Paris in 1939. When the Nazis invaded France, Arnall’s family fled to Montreal in Canada. The family moved to California in the 1950s.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news