Freeport's Lode of Trouble

The U.S. company's link to ousted Indonesian President Suharto could jeopardize its primary mining operation

Do you know what an F.O.B. is in Washington?" asked James Moffett, CEO of Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, the giant mining company based in New Orleans, in a recent newspaper interview. "It's friends of Bill. That's how you get contracts with the U.S. government. And before that, it was friends of Bush. And before that..."

Welcome to the one-hand-washes-the-other world of "Jim-Bob" Moffett, a former University of Texas football star, geologist and amateur Elvis-impersonator who built Freeport into a mining behemoth with annual revenues of almost $2 billion. Moffett himself is an F.O.S., or friend of Suharto, the ousted dictator...

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