Bill Clinton was planning a charity trip to Latin America and needed a big plane.
For Frank Giustra, who had never met the former president, this was an opportunity. The Canadian mining magnate and onetime Hollywood studio owner stepped up to let the former president borrow his luxurious passenger jet. There was just one condition: Giustra would come along for the ride.
That 2005 trip was the start of an intense, mutually beneficial friendship — one that has helped propel the Clinton Foundation into a global giant and established Giustra’s reputation as an international philanthropist while helping him build connections in countries where his business was expanding.
Giustra has since committed more than $100 million to the work of the Clinton Foundation, becoming one of the largest individual donors to the family’s charities.
Clinton has also gained regular transportation, borrowing Giustra’s plane 26 times for foundation business since 2005, including 13 trips in which the two men traveled together. The numbers on Clinton’s use of the plane, never previously reported, were provided by a spokeswoman for Giustra.