WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday allowed the sale of a majority stake in bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd. to a company owned by the Singapore government, a deal that had come under scrutiny for possible national security implications.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Bush said he would "take no action to suspend or prohibit the proposed 61.5 percent investment by Singapore Technologies Telemedia." The letter was accompanied by a classified report.
Once worth tens of billions of dollars, Global Crossing was sold to a joint venture of Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong and Singapore Technologies Telemedia for $250-million in August in a deal that required federal approval. The Hong Kong conglomerate pulled out after concerns about whether an American telecommunications network should be controlled by a company that may have close ties to the Chinese government.
Singapore Technologies Telemedia then agreed to pay the full $250-million.
The deal was reviewed by a group, called the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, that included representatives from several government agencies, including the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments.
In trying to win government support for the sale, Global Crossing hired Richard Perle, who at the time led an influential civilian advisory group in the Pentagon.
Perle resigned as chairman a short time later but remains on the board.
Global Crossing, which is based in Bermuda but has corporate offices in Florham Park, N.J., built a 100,000 mile, high-speed fiber optic network - the world's most extensive - before it collapsed under $12.4-billion in debt in January 2002.