Democratic donor in $292 mln bank fraud gets early prison release

NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - A New York financier and Democratic political donor who pleaded guilty to a $292 million bank fraud is being released early from his 12-year prison term and moving to home confinement, court papers show.

Hassan Nemazee, 69, who has spent about 8-1/2 years in prison, obtained approval last week from the federal Bureau of Prisons for the move, which is scheduled for late this week.

Nemazee in January had asked his sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein, for early release.

The prison bureau decision eliminated the need to rule on the merits of that request, according to an order made public on Monday.

Nemazee, a U.S. citizen whose family left Iran after the 1979 revolution, is among the earliest prisoners obtaining early release under the bipartisan First Step Act signed by President Donald Trump in December.

The law allows some older prisoners who have served at least two-thirds of their sentences to move to home confinement.

Nemazee pleaded guilty in 2010 to obtaining $292 million in loans from Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings Plc by using fake documents to show he had enough collateral.

His criminal case was separate from his political work, which included raising money for Democratic President Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who became Obama's first secretary of state.

A lawyer for Nemazee was not immediately available for comment on Monday.

The case is U.S. v. Nemazee, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-cr-00902. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)